Stephen Langton, an English prelate, born in Devonshire according to some authors, in Sussex according to others, about 1160, died in Slindon, Sussex, July 9, 1228. He was educated at the university of Paris, where he had for a fellow student Innocent III., and eventually became canon of Notre Dame and chancellor of the university. Visiting Koine in 1206, he was made a cardinal by Innocent III., and in the succeeding year was consecrated by him archbishop of Canterbury, to which see he had been elected at the recommendation of the pope, and in opposition to the claims of John de Gray, whom King John had compelled the monks of Canterbury to elect. This circumstance gave rise to the quarrel between John and Innocent, one of the consequences of which was that Langton was kept out of his see until the submission of the king to the pope in 1213. In the same year he joined the confederacy of barons opposed to the mis-government of John, and at a meeting of the heads of the revolt in London urged the restoration of the charter of Henry I. His name also stands first among the subscribing witnesses to Magna Charta. He adhered faithfully to his party throughout the struggle, and for his refusal to excommunicate the barons, at the command of Innocent, was suspended from the exercise of his archiepiscopal functions; but he was restored in February, 1216, and after the accession of Henry III., was allowed to resume the administration of his diocese.
From that period he devoted his whole care to church discipline, and published a code of 42 canons in a synod at Oxford in 1222. He still continued to watch over the two charters with the attachment of a parent, and in 1223, at the call of the barons, again placed himself at their head to demand from Henry III. the confirmation of their liberties. His writings have perished; but to him is due the division of the Bible into chapters, since universally adopted.