William Temple was born in The Palace, in Exeter, the son of Frederick Temple, who later became the archbishop of Canterbury. Educated at Rugby and at Balliol College, Oxford, he was a Fellow lecturer in philosophy at Queen's College, Oxford, from 1904 to 1910 and the chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury from 1910 to 1921. He then served as bishop of Manchester, 1921-28; archbishop of York, 1928-42; and archbishop of Canterbury from 1942 until his death in 1944.
Many have considered Temple an outstanding leader of modern Protestantism. He was regarded by all who knew him as a great, yet humble, man. His premature death prevented even greater accomplishments, but he managed to influence multitudes of people through his lecturing, preaching, and writing.
He was a pioneer of the ecumenical movement and a tireless church reformer. He gave excellent leadership to Christian social movements and stood as a prophetic voice to the world. He once said, "In our dealings with one another let us be more eager to understand those who differ from us than either to refute them or press upon them our own tradition."