Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury

Thomas Cranmer young at his life

Thomas Cranmer, former chaplain to the Boleyn family, and Archdeacon of Tauton was invested on Passion Sunday as Archbishop of Canterbury in St. Stephen’s College at Westminster Abbey on the 30th of March 1533. Once he was consecrated, he set about working to dissolve the King’s first marriage, declaring it null three months later, making the King’s union with Anne valid. Ironically, he would also be the one to pronounce this union invalid when her trial began. Thomas Cranmer was one of the most influential figures in the English Reformation and thanks to him, the two versions of the Book of Common prayer were issued during Edward VI’s time. Unlike many other radical reformer, Thomas Cranmer became more pragmatic with age. He was still a religious devotee, but after seeing the kingdom being torn down by the wars of the religion, he agreed that there had to be room for some sort of middle ground. He was good friends with the Lord Protector and not very good friends with his ally, John Knox whom Cranmer thought too radical and fanatical.

When Mary I became Queen, trumping the Protestant’s plans to install Jane in her place, he accepted her as his new monarch, however he put certain conditions which he later insisted more upon. One of these were that he condemned the returned of the Mass, and also he started to encourage religious upheaval which led to his incarceration, the loss of his Archbishopric and his death (at the stake) on March 21st, 1555.

Sources:

  • On this day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway
  • Anne Boleyn Collection by Claire Ridgway
  • Tudor by Leanda de Lisle
  • Ordeal by Ambition by William Seymour
  • Tudor Age by Jasper Ridley
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