In 1070, when Lanfranc left his abbacy at Caen to become Archbishop of Canterbury, he was probably about 60 years old — by medieval standards an advanced age. In Lombardy, and then in Normandy, he had had a long and varied experience of lay, monastic, and general church life, and not least of the aspirations and concerns of the early reform papacy and of secular rulers who, for whatever reason, had sympathy with them. At each stage of his life he had demonstrated his ability to adapt himself with integrity and effectiveness to the demands that he encountered. A cardinal feature of Lanfranc's monastic years as prior of Bec and as abbot of Caen was his close and sympathetic relationship with the reform popes of the time, especially Leo IX, Nicholas II, and Alexander II, all of whom held him in high regard.
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