Cranmer's Rise to Power
Cranmer was a member of the lesser nobility, giving him a more advantageous background than either Wolsey or Cromwell. As a fairly minor figure at Cambridge university, he wrote a report in favour of the king's annulment which attracted attention.
1529 - Cranmer was chaplain to Thomas Boleyn.
1530 - Henry appointed him as ambassador to Charles V.
1533 - Warham died, so Cranmer replaced him as Archbishop of Canterbury. He married Henry and Anne, then declared the original marriage to Catherine of Aragon invalid.
1541 - After the death of Cromwell, Cranmer emerged as the leading figure of the court reformist faction.
Maculloch considers Cranmer a 'reluctant hero', who was 'subservient to the king's ego'. Unlike Wolsey, he had no great ambition or ruthlessness, and unlike More, he was willing to be pragmatic and abandon his principles if it kept him safe.
1532 - Cranmer was involved in the compilation of the Collectanea satis copiosa, which included research into Biblical precedents for Henry's Great Matter. A number of Henry's annotations can be seen in the margins, including 'hic est vera', or 'here is the truth'.
1533 - As Archbishop of Canterbury, Cranmer presided over the annulment of Henry's original marriage, and his remarriage to Anne Boleyn.
1536 - Cranmer assisted with Henry's second annulment and marriage to Jane Seymour.
1537 - He was involved with the Bishop's Book, redefining the importance of the seven sacraments.
1539 - Cranmer unsuccessfully opposed the Act of Six Articles, a piece of legislation that marked a move back to Catholic doctrine in order to appease Catholic countries that were threatening invasion.
1552 - Cranmer wrote the Second Book of Common Prayer, which was used by Elizabeth I.