Stigand was born in Norwich in about 990. He became a priest in Ashingdon in Essex. Edward the Confessor appointed him as Bishop of Elmham (1043-1047) and Bishop of Winchester (1047-1052).

In 1052 Stigand became Archbishop of Canterbury. He developed a reputation for corruption and acquired extensive estates in East Anglia and Gloucestershire. He was also criticized for arranging for his brother Ethelmaer to become Bishop of Elmham. Stigand, the last Anglo-Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury, died in 1072.