Thomas cranmer archbishop of canterbury

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thomas cranmer archbishop of canterbury

Thomas Cranmer by Diarmaid MacCulloch

Thomas Cranmer, the architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, was the archbishop of Canterbury who guided England through the early Reformation—and Henry VIII through the minefields of divorce. This is the first major biography of him for more than three decades, and the first for a century to exploit rich new manuscript sources in Britain and elsewhere.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, one of the foremost scholars of the English Reformation, traces Cranmer from his east-Midland roots through his twenty-year career as a conventionally conservative Cambridge don. He shows how Cranmer was recruited to the coterie around Henry VIII that was trying to annul the royal marriage to Catherine, and how new connections led him to embrace the evangelical faith of the European Reformation and, ultimately, to become archbishop of Canterbury. By then a major English statesman, living the life of a medieval prince-bishop, Cranmer guided the church through the kings vacillations and finalized two successive versions of the English prayer book.
MacCulloch skillfully reconstructs the crises Cranmer negotiated, from his compromising association with three of Henrys divorces, the plot by religious conservatives to oust him, and his role in the attempt to establish Lady Jane Grey as queen to the vengeance of the Catholic Mary Tudor. In jail after Marys accession, Cranmer nearly repudiated his achievements, but he found the courage to turn the day of his death into a dramatic demonstration of his Protestant faith.
From this vivid account Cranmer emerges a more sharply focused figure than before, more conservative early in his career than admirers have allowed, more evangelical than Anglicanism would later find comfortable. A hesitant hero with a tangled life story, his imperishable legacy is his contribution in the prayer book to the shape and structure of English speech and through this to the molding of an international language and the theology it expressed.
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Published 28.11.2018

21st March 1556: Thomas Cranmer executed for heresy

Thomas Cranmer (1489 - 1556)

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. During Cranmer's tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England. Under Henry's rule, Cranmer did not make many radical changes in the Church, due to power struggles between religious conservatives and reformers. However, he succeeded in publishing the first officially authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany. When Edward came to the throne, Cranmer was able to promote major reforms.

Thomas Cranmer, (born July 2, , Aslacton, Nottinghamshire, England—died March 21, , Oxford), the first Protestant archbishop of Canterbury (–56), adviser to the English kings Henry VIII and Edward VI. Denounced by the Catholic queen Mary I for promoting Protestantism.
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Early life

Archbishop Cranmer., ABT - d.

Cranmer was executed on 21 March Imprisoned by the Catholic Queen Mary I, Cranmer wrote a recantation of Protestantism, but he denied that recantation before he died. Mary had good cause to dislike Cranmer. But that I know for our great friendships, and long continued love, you look even of duty that I should signify to you of the truth of such things as here chanceth among us; I would not at this time have written to you the unfortunate end, and doubtful tragedy, of Thomas Cranmer late bishop of Canterbury: because I little pleasure take in beholding of such heavy sights. And, when they are once overpassed, I like not to rehearse them again; being but a renewing of my woe, and doubling my grief. For although his former, and wretched end, deserves a greater misery, if any greater might have chanced than chanced unto him , yet, setting aside his offenses to God and his country, and beholding the man without his faults, I think there was none that pitied not his case, and bewailed not his fortune, and feared not his own chance, to see so noble a prelate, so grave a counsellor, of so long continued honor, after so many dignities, in his old years to be deprived of his estate, adjudged to die, and in so painful a death to end his life. I have no delight to increase it.

Who is Thomas Cranmer? We know! Mostly because we found some great biographies in our store. Thomas Cranmer was born to parents of modest wealth. He attended Jesus College, Cambridge several years after the death of his father. From there, he studied theology, earned ordination by and obtained a Doctor of Divinity degree by Henry sent ambassadors to the Pope regarding the annulment, but the Pope failed to grant it.

Twenty-three crucial years in English history were covered by the arch-episcopate of Thomas Cranmer, whose most enduring monument is the English Book of Common Prayer. Behind that high appointment lay a tale of tortuous intrigue; before the new Archbishop there stretched a Primacy covering twenty-three crucial years in English history. Thomas Cranmer was born in , at Aslacton in Nottinghamshire. He was a gentleman by birth and, in spite of an excessive timidity in his youth, he won for himself the reputation of being an intrepid horseman. At Cambridge he distinguished himself, first by gaining a Fellowship at his own College and then by forfeiting it through an injudicious marriage. A year later, however, his wife died—she was related to the landlady of the Dolphin Tavern—and Cranmer was restored to his Fellowship. He was ordained, and as Lecturer and Examiner in Divinity he settled down to what might have been, in other circumstances, a long and peaceful academic career.


  1. Harriette S. says:

    Thomas Cranmer was born in at Nottingham.

  2. Manville L. says:

    BBC - History - Thomas Cranmer

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  5. Philipp E. says:

    As archbishop , he put the English Bible in parish churches, drew up the Book of Common Prayer , and composed a litany that remains in use today.

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