Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury 1489–1556

Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury 1489–1556

Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which was one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm.

Thomas Cranmer

Archbishop of Canterbury

2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556

Born
2 July 1489
Aslockton, Nottinghamshire, England

Died
21 March 1556 (aged 66)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

Profession
Priest

Arms of Thomas Cranmer

Wife
1 Joan Cranmer
died in childbirth 1520 (no image available)
2 Margarete Hetzel
born in 1511 died in 1576

Surviving Children
1 Margaret Cranmer
1536-1568

2 Thomas Cranmer
1538-1598

Cranmer was born in 1489 in Aslockton in Nottinghamshire. His parents, Thomas and Agnes (née Hatfield) Cranmer were of modest wealth and were not members of the aristocracy. Their oldest son, John, inherited the family estate, whereas Thomas and his younger brother Edmund were placed on the path to a clerical career.

Two years after the death of his father he was sent to the newly created Jesus College, Cambridge. It took him a surprisingly long eight years to reach his Bachelor of Arts degree following a curriculum of logic, classical literature and philosophy. During this time, he began to collect medieval scholastic books, which he preserved faithfully throughout his life.

Sometime after Cranmer took his MA, he married a woman named Joan. Although he was not yet a priest, he was forced to forfeit his fellowship, resulting in the loss of his residence at Jesus College.With no home of his own, Cranmer turned to a family member in Cambridge, a female proprietor of an inn called The Dolphin. There his wife lived, while he worked as a common reader and resided at Buckingham College.

When Joan died during her first childbirth Jesus College showed its regard for Cranmer by reinstating his fellowship. He began studying theology and by 1520 he had been ordained, the university already having named him as one of their preachers. He received his Doctor of Divinity degree in 1526. Cranmer was proclaimed to be an ostler (a caretaker of horses) while the elusive Joan was labeled, “black Joan of the Dolphin”. Detractors armed with little detail of the heart-wrenching short marriage painted “black Joan” as a sinful whore, as she was pregnant before the marriage.

Cranmer was chosen to take a minor role in the English embassy in Spain. Two discovered letters written by Cranmer describe an early encounter with the king Henry VIII of England upon Cranmer’s return from Spain, in June 1527, the king personally interviewed Cranmer for half an hour. Cranmer described the king as “the kindest of princes” Henry VIII’s first marriage had its origins in 1502 when his elder brother Arthur, died. Their father, Henry VII, then betrothed Arthur’s widow Catherine of Aragon, to the future king. The betrothal immediately raised questions related to the biblical prohibition (in Leviticus 18 and 20) against marriage to a brother’s wife.

The couple married in 1509 and after a series of miscarriages, a daughter, Mary, was born in 1516. By the 1520s, Henry still did not have a son to name as heir and he took this as a sure sign of God’s anger and made overtures to the Vatican about an annulment.

He gave Cardinal Wolsey the task of prosecuting his case Wolsey began by consulting university experts. From 1527, in addition to his duties as a Cambridge don, Cranmer assisted with the annulment proceedings.

In the summer of 1529, Cranmer stayed with relatives in Waltham Holy Cross to avoid an outbreak of the plague in Cambridge. Two of his Cambridge associates Stephen Gardiner and Edward Foxe, joined him. The three discussed the annulment issue and Cranmer suggested putting aside the legal case in Rome in favour of a general canvassing of opinions from university theologians throughout Europe.

Henry showed much interest in the idea when Gardiner and Foxe presented him this plan. It is not known whether the king or his new Lord Chancellor, Thomas More, explicitly approved the plan. Eventually it was implemented and Cranmer was requested to join the royal team in Rome to gather opinions from the universities.

Cranmer’s first contact with a Continental reformer was with Simon Grynaeus, a humanist based in Basel, Switzerland, and a follower of the Swiss reformers Huldrych Zwingli and Johannes Oecolampadius. In the summer of 1531, Grynaeus took an extended visit to England to offer himself as an intermediary between the king and the Continental reformers.

He struck up a friendship with Cranmer and after his return to Basel, he wrote about Cranmer to the German reformer Martin Bucer in Strasbourg. Grynaeus’ early contacts initiated Cranmer’s eventual relationship with the Strasbourg and Swiss reformers

In January 1532, Cranmer was appointed the resident ambassador at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V As the emperor travelled throughout his realm, Cranmer had to follow him to his residence in Ratisbon (Regensburg). He passed through the Lutheran city of Nuremberg and saw for the first time the effects of the Reformation.

When the Imperial Diet was moved to Nuremberg in the summer, he met the leading architect of the Nuremberg reforms, Andreas Osiander. They became good friends, and during that July Cranmer took the surprising action of marrying Margarete, the niece of Osiander’s wife.

This was all the more remarkable given that the marriage required him to set aside his priestly vow of celibacy. He did not take her as his mistress, as was the custom with priests for whom celibacy was too rigorous. Cranmer had moved however moderately at this stage, into identifying with certain Lutheran principles.

This progress in his personal life was not matched in his political life as he was unable to persuade Charles V, Catherine’s nephew, to support the annulment of his aunt’s marriage

While Cranmer was following Charles through Italy, he received a royal letter dated 1 October 1532 informing him that he had been appointed the new Archbishop of Canterbury. He was ordered to return to England.

The appointment had been secured by the family of Anne Boleyn, who was being courted by Henry. When Cranmer’s promotion became known in London, it caused great surprise as Cranmer had previously held only minor positions in the Church. Cranmer continued to work on the annulment proceedings, which required greater urgency after Anne announced her pregnancy. Henry and Anne were secretly married on 24 or 25 January 1533 in the presence of a handful of witnesses. Cranmer did not learn of the marriage until 14 days later.

For the next few months, Cranmer and the king worked on establishing legal procedures on how the monarch’s marriage would be judged by his most senior clergy. Once the procedures were agreed, Cranmer opened his court on 10 May, inviting Henry and Catherine of Aragon to appear. Gardiner represented the king Catherine did not appear or send a proxy. On 23 May Cranmer pronounced the judgement that Henry’s marriage with Catherine was against the law of God. He even issued a threat of excommunication if Henry did not stay away from Catherine

Henry was now free to marry and, on 28 May, Cranmer validated Henry and Anne’s marriage. On 1 June, Cranmer personally crowned and anointed Anne queen and delivered to her the sceptre and rod. Pope Clement VII was furious at this defiance, but he could not take decisive action as he was pressured by other monarchs to avoid an irreparable breach with England. However, on 9 July he provisionally excommunicated Henry and his advisers (which included Cranmer) unless he repudiated Anne by the end of September. Henry kept Anne as his wife and, on 7 September, Anne gave birth to Elizabeth. Cranmer baptised her immediately afterwards and acted as one of her godparents.

In June 1533, he was confronted with the difficult task of not only disciplining a reformer, but also seeing him burnt at the stake. John Frith was condemned to death for his views on the eucharist he denied the real presence. Cranmer personally tried to persuade him to change his views without success.

He supported the cause of reform by gradually replacing the old guard in his ecclesiastical province with men who followed the new thinking such as Hugh Latimer. He intervened in religious disputes, supporting reformers to the disappointment of religious conservatives who desired to maintain the link with Rome.

Cranmer was not immediately accepted by the bishops within his province. When he attempted a canonical visitation (an ecclesiastical superior who in the discharge of his office visits persons or places with a view to maintaining faith and discipline, and of correcting abuses), he had to avoid locations where a resident conservative bishop might make an embarrassing personal challenge to his authority. In 1535, Cranmer had difficult encounters with several bishops. They objected to Cranmer’s power and title and argued that the Act of Supremacy did not define his role. This prompted Thomas Cromwell, the king’s chief minister, to activate and to take the office of the vicegerent, the deputy supreme head of ecclesiastical affairs. He created another set of institutions that gave a clear structure to the royal supremacy. Hence, the archbishop was eclipsed by Vicegerent Cromwell in regards to the king’s spiritual jurisdiction. On 29 January 1536, when Anne miscarried a son, the king began to reflect again on the biblical prohibitions that had haunted him during his marriage with Catherine of Aragon.

Shortly after the miscarriage, the king started to take an interest in Jane Seymour. By 24 April, he had commissioned Cromwell to prepare the case for a divorce.

Anne was sent to the Tower of London on 2 May, and Cranmer was urgently summoned by Cromwell. On the very next day, Cranmer wrote a letter to the king expressing his doubts about the queen’s guilt, highlighting his own esteem for Anne. After it was delivered, however, Cranmer was resigned to the fact that the end of Anne’s marriage was inevitable On 16 May, he saw Anne in the Tower and heard her confession. He tried to persuade Anne to agree that her marriage was null and void, by suggesting that she may be able to avoid the ultimate penalty and instead enter a nunnery. William Kingston wrote a letter to Cromwell saying, “this day at dinner, the Queen said she should go to a nunnery, and is in hope of life.” But the following day, he pronounced the marriage null and void. Two days later Anne was executed Cranmer was one of the few who publicly mourned her death. The vicegerency brought the pace of reforms under the control of the king. A balance was instituted between the conservatives and the reformers and this was seen in the Ten Articles, the first attempt at defining the beliefs of the Henrician Church.

The Ten Articles published in 1536 by Thomas Cranmer.

In the autumn of 1536, the north of England was convulsed in a series of uprisings collectively known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, the most serious opposition to Henry’s policies. Cromwell and Cranmer were the primary targets of the protesters’ fury. Cromwell and the king worked furiously to quell the rebellion, while Cranmer kept a low profile.

After it was clear that Henry’s regime was safe, the government took the initiative to remedy the evident inadequacy of the Ten Articles. The outcome after months of debate was The Institution of a Christian Man informally known from the first issue as the Bishops’ Book.

Even after publication, the book’s status remained vague because the king had not given his full support to it. In a draft letter, Henry noted that he had not read the book, but supported its printing. His attention was most likely occupied by the pregnancy of Jane Seymour and the birth of the male heir, Edward, that Henry had sought for so long.

In 1538, the king and Cromwell arranged with Lutheran princes to have detailed discussions on forming a political and religious alliance. Henry had been seeking a new embassy from the Schmalkaldic League since summer 1537. The Lutherans were delighted by this and they sent a joint delegation from various German cities, including a colleague of Martin Luther, Friedrich Myconius.

The delegates arrived in England on 27 May 1538. After initial meetings with the king, Cromwell, and Cranmer, discussions on theological differences were transferred to Lambeth Palace under Cranmer’s chairmanship. The talks dragged on through the summer with the Germans becoming weary despite the Archbishop’s strenuous efforts. On 5 August, when the German delegates sent a letter to the king regarding three items that particularly worried them (compulsory clerical celibacy, the withholding of the chalice from the laity, and the maintenance of private masses for the dead), Tunstall was able to intervene for the king and to influence the decision. The result was a thorough dismissal by the king of many of the Germans’ chief concerns. Although Cranmer begged the Germans to continue with the negotiations using the argument “to consider the many thousands of souls in England” at stake, they left on 1 October having made no substantial achievements.

Continental reformer Philipp Melanchthon was aware that he was very much admired by Henry. In early 1539, Melanchthon wrote several letters to Henry criticising his views on religion, in particular his support of clerical celibacy. By late April another delegation from the Lutheran princes arrived to build on Melanchthon’s exhortations.

Cromwell wrote a letter to the king in support of the new Lutheran mission. However, the king had begun to change his stance and concentrated on wooing conservative opinion in England rather than reaching out to the Lutherans. On 28 April 1539, Parliament met for the first time in three years. Cranmer was present, but Cromwell was unable to attend due to ill health.

On 5 May the House of Lords created a committee with the customary religious balance between conservatives and reformers to examine and determine doctrine. However, the committee was given little time to do the detailed work needed for a thorough revision.

On 16 May, the Duke of Norfolk noted that the committee had not agreed on anything, and proposed that the Lords examine six doctrinal questions—which eventually formed the basis of the Six Articles. They affirmed the conservative interpretation of doctrines such as the real presence, clerical celibacy, and the necessity of auricular confession, the private confession of sins to a priest.

The setback for the reformers was short lived. By September, Henry was displeased with the results of the Act and its promulgators the ever-loyal Cranmer and Cromwell were back in favour. The king asked his archbishop to write a new preface for the Great Bible, an English translation of the Bible that was first published in April 1539 under the direction of Cromwell.

As for Cromwell, he was delighted that his plan of a royal marriage between Henry and Anne of Cleves, the sister of a German prince was accepted by the king. In Cromwell’s view, the marriage could potentially bring back contacts with the Schmalkaldic League. Henry was dismayed with Anne when they first met on 1 January 1540 but married her reluctantly on 6 January in a ceremony officiated by Cranmer. However, the marriage ended in disaster as Henry decided shortly thereafter that he would request a royal divorce.

This resulted in Henry being placed in an embarrassing position and Cromwell suffered the consequences. His old enemies, including the Duke of Norfolk, took advantage of the weakened Cromwell and he was arrested on 10 June. He immediately lost the support of all his friends, including Cranmer.

However, as Cranmer had done for Anne Boleyn, he wrote a letter to the king defending the past work of Cromwell. Henry’s marriage to Anne of Cleves was quickly annulled on 9 July by the vice-gerential synod, now led by Cranmer and Gardiner.

Following the annulment, Cromwell was executed on 28 July. Cranmer now found himself in a politically prominent position, with no-one else to shoulder the burden.

The king had total trust in him and in return, Cranmer could not conceal anything from the king. At the end of June 1541, Henry with his new wife, Catherine Howard, left for his first visit to the north of England.

Cranmer was left in London as a member of a council taking care of matters for the king in his absence. His colleagues were Lord Chancellor Thomas Audley and Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford. This was Cranmer’s first major piece of responsibility outside the Church. In October, while the king and queen were away, a reformer named John Lascelles revealed to Cranmer that Catherine engaged in extramarital affairs. Cranmer gave the information to Audley and Seymour and they decided to wait until Henry’s return.

Cranmer slipped a message to Henry during mass on All Saints Day. Cranmer reported to Henry VIII that he had intended to question her severely. Cranmer reported that after Catherine had recovered from a sobbing fit, she told him…

Cranmer’s account of his interview of Katherine Howard to Henry VIII… An investigation revealed the truth of the marital indiscretions and Catherine was executed in February 1542.

In 1543, several conservative clergymen in Kent banded together to attack and denounce two reformers, Richard Turner and John Bland, before the Privy Council. They prepared articles to present to the Council, but at the last moment, additional denunciations were added by Stephen Gardiner’s nephew, Germain Gardiner. This document and the actions that followed were the basis of the so-called Prebendaries’ Plot. The articles were delivered to the Council in London and were probably read on 22 April 1543. The king most likely saw the articles against Cranmer that night. The archbishop, however, appeared unaware that an attack on his person was made. For five months Henry took no action on the accusations against his archbishop. The conspiracy was finally revealed to Cranmer by the king himself. According to Cranmer’s secretary, Ralph Morice, sometime in September 1543 the king showed Cranmer a paper summarising the accusations against him Surprise raids were carried out, evidence gathered, and ringleaders identified. Typically, Cranmer put the clergymen involved in the conspiracy through immediate humiliation, but he eventually forgave them and continued to use their services. To show his trust in Cranmer, Henry gave Cranmer his personal ring. When the Privy Council arrested Cranmer at the end of November, the nobles were stymied by the symbol of the king’s trust in him. Cranmer’s victory ended with two second-rank leaders imprisoned and Germain Gardiner executed

In 1546, the conservatives in a coalition including Gardiner, the Duke of Norfolk, the Lord Chancellor Wriothesley, and the bishop of London, Edmund Bonner, made one last attempt to challenge the reformers. Gardiner was disgraced before the king when he refused to agree to exchange episcopal estates, and the son of the Duke of Norfolk was charged with treason and executed. There is no evidence that Cranmer played any part in these political games, and there were no further plots as the king’s health ebbed in his final months.

Cranmer performed his final duties for the king on 28 January 1547 when he gave a reformed statement of faith while gripping Henry’s hand instead of giving him his last rites. Cranmer mourned Henry’s death and it was later said that he demonstrated his grief by growing a beard.

On 31 January, he was among the executors of the king’s final will that nominated Edward Seymour as Lord Protector and welcomed the boy king, Edward VI.

Cranmer’s eucharistic views, which had already moved away from official Catholic doctrine, received another push from Continental reformers. Cranmer had been in contact with Martin Bucer since the time when initial contacts were made with the Schmalkaldic League. However, Cranmer and Bucer’s relationship became ever closer due to Charles V’s victory over the League at Mühlberg, which left England as the sole major nation that gave sanctuary to persecuted reformers. Cranmer wrote a letter to Bucer (now lost) with questions on eucharistic theology.

In March 1549, the city of Strasbourg forced Martin Bucer and Paul Fagius to leave. Cranmer immediately invited the men to come to England and promised that they would be placed in English universities. When they arrived on 25 April, Cranmer was especially delighted to meet Bucer face to face after eighteen years of correspondence. As the use of English in worship services spread, the need for a complete uniform liturgy for the Church became evident. Cranmer publicly revealed in this debate that he had abandoned the doctrine of the corporeal real presence and believed that the Eucharistic presence was only spiritual. Parliament backed the publication of the Prayer Book by passing the Act of Uniformity 1549 it then legalized clerical marriage.

For the first time since marrying 15 years earlier, Thomas and Margarete Cranmer lived openly as man and wife. An utter astonishment to all those but the very few entrusted through the years, their long kept secret was finally revealed.

Wrote by Thomas Cranmer…

The Prayer Book Rebellion and other events had a negative effect on the Seymour regency. The Privy Council became divided when a set of dissident Councillors banded together behind John Dudley in order to oust Seymour.

Cranmer and two other Councillors, William Paget, and Thomas Smith initially rallied behind Seymour. However, after a flurry of letters passed between the two sides, a bloodless coup d’état resulted in the end of Seymour’s Protectorship on 13 October 1549. Seymour was initially imprisoned in the Tower, but he was shortly released on 6 February 1550 and returned to the Council.

In the same year, Cranmer produced the Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ a semi-official explanation of the eucharistic theology within the Prayer Book. It was the first full-length book to bear Cranmer’s name on the title-page.

Although Bucer assisted in the development of the English Reformation, he was still quite concerned about the speed of its progress. Both Bucer and Fagius had noticed that the 1549 Prayer Book was not a remarkable step forward, although Cranmer assured Bucer that it was only a first step and that its initial form was only temporary.

When the Privy Council selected him to be the Bishop of Gloucester on 15 May 1550 he laid down conditions that he would not wear the required vestments. He found an ally among the Continental reformers in Jan Laski who had become a leader of the Stranger church in London, a designated place of worship for Continental Protestant refugees. Cranmer’s role in politics was diminishing when on 16 October 1551 Seymour was arrested on charges of treason. In December he was put on trial and although acquitted of treason, he was judged guilty of felony and put to death on 22 January 1552.

Edward VI became seriously ill from tuberculosis and the councillors were told that he did not have long to live. In May 1553, the council sent several letters to Continental reformers assuring them that Edward’s health was improving.

While this effort to shore up the reformation was taking place, the council was working to convince several judges to put on the throne Lady Jane Grey, Edward’s cousin and a Protestant instead of Mary, Henry and Catherine of Aragon’s daughter and a Catholic.

On 17 June 1553 the king made his will noting Jane would succeed him, contravening the Third Succession Act. Cranmer tried to speak to Edward alone, but he was refused and his audience with Edward occurred in the presence of the councillors.

Edward told him that he supported what he wrote in his will. Cranmer’s decision to support Jane must have occurred before 19 June when royal orders were sent to convene the Convocation for the recognition of the new succession.

By mid-July, there were serious provincial revolts in Mary’s favour and support for Jane in the council fell. On 8 August he led Edward’s funeral according to the rites of the Prayer Book.

Cranmer did not go down without a fight. When rumours spread that he authorised the use of the mass in Canterbury Cathedral, he declared them to be false and said, “all the doctrine and religion, by our said sovereign lord king Edward is more pure and according to God’s word, than any that hath been used in England these thousand years.” Not surprisingly, the government regarded Cranmer’s declaration as tantamount to sedition. He was ordered to stand before the council in the Star Chamber on 14 September and on that day he said his final goodbye to Martyr. Cranmer was sent straight to the Tower to join Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. On 13 November 1553 Cranmer and four others were brought to trial for treason, found guilty, and condemned to death. Several enemies testified that Cranmer had encouraged heresy and had written heretical works.

Throughout February 1554 Jane Grey and other rebels were executed. It was now time to deal with the religious leaders of the reformation and so on 8 March 1554 the Privy Council ordered Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer to be transferred to Bocardo prison in Oxford to await a second trial for heresy.

During this time Cranmer was able to smuggle out a letter to Martyr who had fled to Strasbourg, the last surviving document written in his own hand. He stated that the desperate situation of the church was proof that it will eventually be delivered and wrote, “I pray that God may grant that we may endure to the end!” Cranmer remained isolated in Bocardo prison for seventeen months before the trial started on 12 September 1555. Although it took place in England, the trial was under papal jurisdiction and the final verdict would come from Rome.

Under interrogation, Cranmer admitted to every fact that was placed before him, but he denied any treachery, disobedience or heresy. The trial of Latimer and Ridley started shortly after Cranmer’s but their verdicts came almost immediately and they were burnt at the stake on 16 October. Cranmer was taken to a tower to watch the proceedings. On 4 December Rome decided Cranmer’s fate by depriving him of the archbishopric and giving permission to the secular authorities to carry out their sentence.

In his final days Cranmer’s circumstances changed, which led to several recantations. On 11 December, Cranmer was taken out of Bocardo and placed in the house of the Dean of Christ Church. This new environment was very different from that of his two years in prison.

He was in an academic community and treated as a guest. Approached by a Dominican friar, Juan de Villagarcia, he debated the issues of papal supremacy and purgatory. In his first four recantations, produced between the end of January and mid-February, Cranmer submitted himself to the authority of the king and queen and recognised the pope as head of the church. On 14 February 1556, he was degraded from holy orders and returned to Bocardo.

On 24 February a writ was issued and the date of Cranmer’s execution was set for 7 March. Two days after a fifth statement, the first which could be called a true recantation was issued. Cranmer repudiated all Lutheran and Zwinglian theology, fully accepted Catholicm theology including papal supremacy and transubstantiation, and stated that there was no salvation outside the Catholic Church. He announced his joy of returning to the Catholic faith, asked for and received sacramental absolution, and participated in the mass. Cranmer’s burning was postponed and under normal practice of canon law, he should have been absolved. Mary, however, decided that no further postponement was possible.

His last recantation was issued on 18 March. It was a sign of a broken man, a sweeping confession of sin. Despite the stipulation in Canon Law that recanting heretics be reprieved, Mary was determined to make an example of Cranmer and pressed ahead with his execution. At the pulpit on the day of his execution, he opened with a prayer and an exhortation to obey the king and queen, but he ended his sermon totally unexpectedly, deviating from the prepared script. He renounced the recantations that he had written or signed with his own hand since his degradation and as such he stated his hand would be punished by being burnt first. He then said, “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine.”

He was pulled from the pulpit and taken to where Latimer and Ridley had been burnt six months before. As the flames drew around him, he fulfilled his promise by placing his right hand into the heart of the fire while saying “that unworthy hand” and his dying words were, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit… I see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs wrote of Thomas Cranmer’s execution…

just before he died Cranmer managed to throw the speech he intended to make in St Mary’s Church into the crowd. A man whose initials were J.A. picked it up and made a copy of it. Although he was a Catholic, he was impressed by Cranmer’s courage, and decided to keep it and it was later passed on to John Foxe, who published in his Book of Martyrs. The Marian government produced a pamphlet with all six recantations plus the text of the speech Cranmer was to have made in the University Church. His subsequent withdrawal of his recantations was not mentioned though what actually happened soon became common knowledge, undermining the effectiveness of Marian propaganda.

Sometime around Mary’s accession, Cranmer’s wife, Margarete, escaped to Germany, while his son was entrusted to his brother, Edmund Cranmer, who took him too to the Continent. Margarete Cranmer eventually married Cranmer’s favourite publisher, Edward Whitchurch. The couple returned to England after Mary’s reign and settled in Surrey. Whitchurch also negotiated for the marriage of Margaret to Thomas Norton. Whitchurch died in 1562 and Margarete married for the third time to Bartholomew Scott. She died in the 1570s. Both of Cranmer’s children died without issue and his line became extinct.

Bernard Hepton as Thomas Cranmer
Henry VIII and His Six Wives 1972

.Milton Cadman as Thomas Cranmer
A Man for All Seasons 1988

.Will Keen as Thomas Cranmer
Wolf Hall 2015
.Michael Maloney as Thomas Cranmer
Henry VIII 2003
.Thomas Cranmer as Cranmer
The Tudors 2017

Thomas Cranmer
Archbishop of Canterbury
2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556

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