Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer



For nearly 400 year Cranmer was one of the most controversial figures of the C16. Dozens of Catholic writers castigated him as the weak and changeable leader of the Church in England, who was too cowardly to save the position of his country for Rome, while generations of defenders of the Protestant cause laud him as a martyr due to his burning under the reign of Mary.

Of all the leading political figures of Henry VIII’s reign, Cranmer was the most human, most ordinary. His ambitions were modest and he sought no more than a comfortable existence. Until the age of 40 he managed this successfully…

He was a very junior member of the Boleyn faction during the case for the Royal Divorce. He was considered very intellectually able and useful, carrying out instructions to the letter and showing himself in favour of the divorce. Cranmer was ordained a priest and rose to prominence when Henry faced the problem of appointing a non-bishop head on, and declared Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury. Cranmer had argued that the King should be head of all institutions in his realm, reasoning that God intended the rulers he placed in power to have all-embracing authority; a view that gained him favour with Henry VIII. Cranmer was always cheerful and friendly, could speak his mind without


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