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Born in Guildford, son of a cloth-worker, Abbot was educated at the Royal Grammar School then Balliol College, Oxford. By 1600 he was the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Winchester.

Abbot took a leading part in preparing the authorised version of The New Testament. In 1609, he arranged a union between the churches of England and Scotland, to the delight of King James. In 1611, Abbot became Archbishop of Canterbury.

Abbot loved his home town and in 1619 laid the foundation stone of the Hospital of the Blessed Trinity (Abbot’s Hospital). George Abbot is buried at Guildford’s Holy Trinity Church.