In 1360 he was made treasurer of England and in 1361 he became bishop of Ely; he was appointed chancellor of England in 1363 and was chosen archbishop of Canterbury in 1366.
The description of the gold and silver retable given to the high altar of Ely by Abbot Theodwin in the 11th century, shows it to have been a large and elaborate piece of work decorated with many reliefs and figures in the round.
In London they are attached to the church of St Etheldreda, Ely Place, Holborn, where the English translation of Rosmini's works is edited.
He had close connexion with the diocese of Ely, being successively chancellor, vicar-general and prebendary.
As a Puritan controversialist he was remarkably active; in 1580 the bishop of Ely appointed him to defend puritanism against the Roman Catholics, Thomas Watson, ex-bishop of Lincoln (1513-1584), and John Feckenham, formerly abbot of Westminster, and in 1581 he was one of the disputants with the Jesuit, Edmund Campion, while in 1582 he was among the clergy selected by the privy council to argue against any papist.