William Cosmo Gordon Lang
Historical Figure
Nationality: United Kingdom
Date of Birth: 1864
Date of Death: 1945
Cause of Death: Heart failure
Religion: Anglican
Occupation: Clergy, Politician, Author of Fiction, Author of Non-Fiction
Political Office(s): Member of Parliament for House of Lords
Turtledove Appearances:
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): The Big Switch
Type of Appearance: Direct (via radio)

The Right Reverend and the Right Honourable William Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1st Baron Lang of Lamberth (31 October 1864 - 5 December 1945) was an English clergyman of the early 20th century.

Early in his priestly career he rose to prominence quickly, becoming Archbishop of York within eighteen years of his consecration--climbing the ranks with a speed that is unheard of in the modern era. As Archbishop of York, Lang became one of the Lords Spiritual and was seated in the House of Lords, where he spoke out in favor of or against a wide variety of issues much more adamantly than clergymen typically did. Lang took positions that were controversial, both theologically and politically, and this eroded the respect and admiration he had previously enjoyed.

Nonetheless, Lang was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1928, in which position he continued to be uncommonly outspoken. As Archbishop for the early years of World War II, he supported the appeasement policy of Neville Chamberlain's Government. He did preach against the anti-Semitic policies of the Nazi Party and urged his flock to be prepared to give aid and comfort to distressed European Jews as opportunities to do so presented themselves.

Lang retired as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1942 but remained active politically. He was created Lord Lang of Lambert and, now as a Lord Temporal, participated in debates in the House of Lords for the rest of his life. In December 1945 he died suddenly of heart failure.

Cosmo Lang in The War That Came EarlyEdit

Cosmo Lang presided at the funeral of Minister of War Winston Churchill in the summer of 1940. His eulogy, broadcast over the BBC, was dull and passionless.[1]


Religious titles
Preceded by
Arthur Winnington-Ingram
Bishop of Stepney
Succeeded by
Luke Paget
Preceded by
William Maclagan
Archbishop of York
Succeeded by
William Temple
Preceded by
Randall Davidson, 1st Baron Davidson of Lambeth
Archbishop of Canterbury