From the time of Augustine until the 16th century, the Archbishops of Canterbury were in full communion with the See of Rome and usually received the pallium from the Pope. During the English Reformation, the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Catholic Church. Thomas Cranmer became the first Protestant holder of the office in 1533, while Reginald Pole was the last Catholic in the position, serving from 1556 to 1558 during the Counter-Reformation. In the Middle Ages there was considerable variation in the methods of nomination of the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops. At various times the choice was made by the canons of Canterbury Cathedral, the Pope, or the King of England. Since the English Reformation, the Church of England has been more explicitly a state church and the choice is legally that of the Crown; today it is made by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, who receives a shortlist of two names from an ad hoc committee called the Crown Nominations Commission.
The archbishop's main residence is Lambeth Palace in the London Borough of Lambeth. He also has lodgings in the Old Palace, Canterbury, located beside Canterbury Cathedral, where the Chair of St Augustine sits.
As holder of one of the "five great sees" (the others being York, London, Durham and Winchester), the Archbishop of Canterbury is ex officio one of the Lords Spiritual of the House of Lords. He is one of the highest-ranking men in England and the highest ranking non-royal in the United Kingdom's order of precedence.