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Thomas Cranmer

(1489 - 1556) [ODNB]

BA Cambridge 1511; MA 1515; archbishop of Canterbury (1533 - 56); burnt in 1556

Cranmer acknowledged the help he received from John Frith's book attacking the doctrine of Sir Thomas More. 1563, p. 500; 1570, p. 1176; 1576, p. 1006; 1583, p. 1033.

Thomas Cranmer, John Stokesley, Edward Carne, William Benet and the earl of Wiltshire were sent as ambassadors to the pope to dispute the matter of the king's marriage. 1570, p. 1280; 1576, p. 1095; 1583, p. 1121.

Cranmer's separation of the king and Queen Catherine was authorised by parliament. 1570, p. 1197; 1576, p. 1025; 1583, p. 1053.

Elizabeth Barton prophesied that if the king divorced Queen Catherine and married Anne Boleyn, he would not reign more than a month thereafter. Through the efforts of Cranmer, Cromwell and Latimer, she was condemned and executed with some of her supporters. 1570, p. 1199; 1576, p. 1026; 1583, pp. 1054-55.

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The archbishop of Canterbury (Cranmer), along with the bishops of London (Stokesley), Winchester (Gardiner), Bath and Wells (Clerk) and Lincoln (Longland) and other clergy went to see Queen Catherine. She failed to attend when summoned over 15 days, and they pronounced that she and the king were divorced. 1570, p. 1200; 1576, p. 1027; 1583, p. 1055.

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Cranmer was godfather to Princess Elizabeth. 1563, p. 510; 1570, p. 1199; 1576, p. 1026; 1583, p. 1054.

Cranmer was one of the subscribers to the Bishops' Book. 1570, p. 1211; 1576, p. 1037; 1583, p. 1064.

Cranmer attended a synod in 1537 with other bishops and learned men and with Thomas Cromwell as vicar-general. Cranmer opposed retaining the seven sacraments. He gave an oration to the bishops. 1563, p. 594; 1570, p. 1351; 1576, p. 1153; 1583, p. 1182.

On the second day of the synod, Thomas Cranmer sent his archdeacon to command Alexander Alesius to cease from disputation. 1570, p. 1353; 1576, p. 1155; 1583, p. 1184.

John Lambert attended a sermon preached by John Taylor at St Peter's in London in 1538. Lambert put ten articles to him questioning transubstantiation. Taylor conferred with Robert Barnes, who persuaded Taylor to put the matter to Archbishop Cranmer. Cranmer called Lambert into open court, where he was made to defend his cause. 1563, pp. 532-33; 1570, pp. 1280-81; 1576, p. 1095; 1583, p. 1121.

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Cranmer disputed with Lambert at his trial before the king. 1563, pp. 534-35; 1570, p. 1282; 1576, pp. 1096-97; 1583, p. 1122.

Thomas Cranmer alone disputed the Six Articles in parliament. 1570, p. 1298; 1576, p. 1110; 1583, p. 1136.

The king sent Thomas Cromwell and the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk to dine with Cranmer to reassure him after his opposition to the Six Articles. 1570, p. 1298; 1576, p. 1111; 1583, p. 1136.

Henry asked for a summary of Cranmer's objections to the Six Articles. Cranmer asked his secretary to write up a copy of his arguments against the Six Articles to give to the king.1570, p. 1355; 1576, p. 1157; 1583, p. 1185.

Adam Damplip was brought before Thomas Cranmer, Stephen Gardiner, Richard Sampson and others and examined. The next day, warned by Cranmer that he was likely to be imprisoned and burnt, he fled to the West Country. 1563, p. 657; 1570, p. 1401; 1576, p. 1194; 1583, p. 1224.

Thomas Broke, Ralph Hare, James Cocke and James Barber were sent from Calais with their accusers to England to be examined by Cranmer, Gardiner, Sampson and other bishops. 1563, p. 661; 1570, p. 1401; 1576, p. 1195; 1583, p. 1224.

King Henry wrote to Archbishop Cranmer, ordering that idolatrous images be removed from churches. 1563, p. 625; 1570, p. 1385; 1576, p. 1181; 1583, p. 1210.

For a long period, Henry VIII denied his daughter Mary the title of princess. Thomas Cranmer urged a reconciliation. 1570, p. 1565; 1576, p. 1335; 1583, p. 1396.

When Claude d'Annebault, the French ambassador, went to see Henry VIII at Hampton Court, lavish entertainment was laid on for him, but he was recalled before he had received half of it. During the course of the banquet, he had private conversation with the king and Archbishop Cranmer about the reform of religion in the two countries. 1570, p. 1426; 1576, p. 1215; 1583, p. 1245.

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Cranmer had sent letters for Henry VIII to sign relating to reform in the church. Gardiner convinced the king that these reforms would jeopardise a league with the king of France and the emperor, so the letters were never signed. 1570, p. 1426; 1576, p. 1215; 1583, p. 1245.

The young Prince Edward wrote letters in Latin to Thomas Cranmer, his godfather. 1570, p. 1564; 1576, p. 1334; 1583, p. 1395.

Cranmer praised the learning and wisdom of Prince Edward to his tutor, Richard Coxe. 1563, p. 884; 1570, p. 1484; 1576, p. 1258; 1583, p. 1295.

Richard Coxe wrote to Thomas Cranmer, praising the young Prince Edward. 1570, p. 1564; 1576, p. 1334; 1583, p. 1395.

When King Henry was on his deathbed, Anthony Denny asked him if he wished a spiritual adviser, and he asked for Thomas Cranmer. Before Cranmer could arrive, however, the king had lost the power of speech. He clasped Cranmer's hand, and shortly after died. 1570, p. 1477; 1576, p. 1253; 1583, p. 1290.

After the death of Henry VIII, the duke of Suffolk related to Thomas Cranmer how Stephen Gardiner had nearly been arrested at the time of the execution of Germaine Gardiner. 1570, p. 1477; 1576, p. 1253; 1583, p. 1290.

Cranmer had great difficulty in getting King Edward to sign Joan Bocher's death warrant. 1570, p. 1484; 1576, p. 1258; 1583, p. 1295.

Charles V requested of Edward VI that his cousin Mary Tudor be allowed to have the mass said in her house. The request was denied, in spite of the strong urgings of Thomas Cranmer and Nicholas Ridley. 1563, p. 884; 1570, p. 1484; 1576, p. 1258; 1583, p. 1295.

Thomas Dobbe was brought before Cranmer, who committed him to the Counter, where he died. 1563, p. 685; 1570, p. 1486; 1576, p. 1260; 1583, p. 1297.

Edward VI's councillors and Edward Seymour wrote to Thomas Cranmer, directing that candles no longer be carried on Candlemas, nor palms on Palm Sunday, nor should ashes be used on Ash Wednesday. Cranmer immediately wrote to all the other bishops to inform them of the new directive. 1563, pp. 685, 691; 1570, p. 1486; 1576, p. 1260; 1583, p. 1297.

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The council wrote further to Cranmer ordering the abolishing of images in all churches in the archdiocese. He wrote to Edmund Bonner, directing him to carry out the order in London. 1563, p. 692; 1570, p. 1490; 1576, p. 1263; 1583, p. 1300.

Cranmer, with other learned bishops and learned men, was appointed to draw up a uniform order of common prayer. 1570, p. 1491; 1576, p. 1264; 1583, p. 1301.

Stephen Gardiner wrote to Thomas Cranmer and Nicholas Ridley while imprisoned in the Fleet. 1563, pp. 732-54; 1570, p. 1522; 1576, p. 1297; 1583, p. 1340.

Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, Nicholas Ridley, bishop of Rochester, Sir William Petre, Sir Thomas Smith and William May, dean of St Paul's, were commissioned to examine Edmund Bonner. 1563, p. 697; 1570, p. 1504; 1576, p. 1275; 1583, p. 1312.

Bonner was summoned to appear before the commissioners. He behaved haughtily, ridiculing his accusers and the commissioners, and spoke in favour of the mass. He appeared first on 10 September 1549 before Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Sir William Petre and William May. Sir Thomas Smith was absent. 1563, pp. 698-99; 1570, pp. 1504-06; 1576, pp. 1275-77; 1583, pp. 1312-14.

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Bonner appeared for the second time on 13 September before Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Sir William Petre, Sir Thomas Smith and William May and was further examined. 1563, pp. 699-704; 1570, pp. 1506-08; 1576, pp. 1277-79; 1583, pp. 1314-17.

Bonner appeared for the third time on 16 September before Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Sir Thomas Smith and William May to answer the articles put to him at the previous session. John Hooper and William Latymer also appeared in order to purge themselves against the slanders of Bonner. 1563, pp. 704-709; 1570, pp. 1508-11; 1576, pp. 1279-80; 1583, pp. 1317-22.

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Bonner appeared before the commissioners for the fourth time on 18 September, at which session new articles were drawn up and new witnesses received. 1563, pp. 704-710; 1570, pp. 1508-12; 1576, pp. 1279-81; 1583, pp. 1317-22.

Bonner appeared for the fifth time before the commissioners on 20 September. During an interval, he instructed Gilbert Bourne, his chaplain, Robert Warnington, his commissary, and Robert Johnson, his registrar, to tell the mayor and aldermen of London to avoid reformed preachers. Bonner made his first appellation to the king. As a result of his behaviour during the proceedings, he was committed to the Marshalsea. 1563, pp. 713-717; 1570, pp. 1513-16; 1576, pp. 1282-85; 1583, pp. 1324-26.

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Bonner appeared for the sixth time before the commissioners on 23 September, when he presented a general recusation against all the commissioners and a second appellation to the king. A letter was read from Bonner to the mayor of London, Henry Amcottes, and aldermen. 1563, pp. 717-18; 1570, p. 1516; 1576, p. 1285; 1583, pp. 1326-27.

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Bonner' seventh appearance before the commissioners took place on 1 October. He presented a declaration, an appellation and a supplication to the king. The commissioners pronounced their sentence definitive. Bonner was imprisoned and deprived of his office. 1563, pp. 718-26; 1570, pp. 1516-19; 1576, pp. 1285-88; 1583, pp. 1327-30.

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Cranmer was a signatory to a letter from the king and privy council to Nicholas Ridley, directing him to remove and destroy all altars within the churches of his diocese and install communion tables. 1563, p. 727; 1570, pp. 1519-20; 1576, p. 1288; 1583, p. 1331.

After Stephen Gardiner's sequestration, Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Thomas Goodrich, Henry Holbeach, Sir William Petre, Sir James Hales, Griffith Leyson, John Oliver and John Gosnold were commissioned to examine him. 1563, p. 776; 1570, p. 1535; 1576, p. 1309; 1583, p. 1358.

Person and Place Index  *  Close
Bologna (Bononium)

[Bononie; Bonomie; Bonony; Bononia]

Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Coordinates: 44° 30' 27" N, 11° 21' 5" E

Cathedral city

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Padua (Patavium, Padova)


Veneto, Italy

Coordinates: 45° 25' 0" N, 11° 52' 0" E

1098 [1074]

K. Henry 8. The kinges message to the Emperour in defence of hys maryage.

for all their vniust and craftie packing, they were throughe Gods prouidēce, frustrate of their desired purpose. MarginaliaThe Papistes frustrate of their purpose.For although they so brought to passe the next yeare folowing, to adnulle the order of that succession by a contrary Parlament: 

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This refers to the second 'Succession Act of 1536' (28 Henry VIII, c.7), which invested the succession in the heirs of Henry by Jane Seymour.

yet neither did they so adnihilate it, but that both K. Edwarde followed, yea and also the same succession afterward by the said king and other parlaments was restored againe, and yet (God be praised) hath hetherto raigned, & doth yet florish in the Realme of England.

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Nowe, as wee haue declared the Kings doings in the Realme of Scotland and of Fraunce, proceding further in the kings proceedings wyth other Princes, let vs see how the king defended himselfe and his cause before the Emperor, sending his ambassador vnto him, vsing these wordes before his maiestie, as here foloweth.

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The Oration of the kings Ambassadour before the Emperour in defence of his cause.

MarginaliaThe Oration of the Ambassadour to the Emperour.SIr, the king my maister taking and reputing you as his perfect frende, confederate, and allye, and not doubting but you remembring the mutual kindnes betwene you in times past, wil shew your self in all ocurrents to be of such minde and disposition, as iustice, truthe and equitie doeth require: hath willed me by his letters, to open and declare vnto you, what he hathe done, and in what wise hee hathe proceeded concerning suche Marriage as by many yeares was supposed to haue bene betwene your Aunte and hys grace. MarginaliaDiuisions consisting in 2. partes.In which matter being two principall poyntes specially to be regarded & considered: that is to say, the iustice of the cause, and the order of the processe therein, hys highnes hath so vsed hym in both, as no man may right wisely complaine of the same.

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MarginaliaThe iustnes of the kinges cause.First, as touching the iustnes of the cause, that is to say, of that Mariage betwene him and your sayde Aunte to be nought, and of no moment ne effect, but against the law of God, nature, and man, and indispensable by the Pope, and in no wise vailable: his highnes hath done therein, asmuch as becommeth him for discharge of hys cōscience, and hath found so certain, so euidēt, so manifest, so open, and approued truth, as wherunto his maiesty ought of good congruence to geue place, & which by al other ought to be allowed and receiued, not as a matter doubtful, disputable, or depending in question and ambiguitie: but as a plaine determined and discussed verity of the true vnderstanding of gods word and lawe 

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It is very interesting (and not a little ironic given the king's conservative theology) to note that, as Henry's matrimonial solution (which had such a weak basis in canon law and a doubtful basis in theology) he increasingly turned (as did the reformers on the continent) to the stronghold of scriptural interpretation (which the Romans had obviously got so badly wrong over the centuries).

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, which all Christian men must follow and obey, and before all other worldly respects, prefer and execute. In attaining the knowledge whereof, if hys highnes had vsed only his owne particular iudgement & sentence, or the minde only & opinion of his owne natural subiects, (althoughe the same might in his conscience haue suffised) woulde not muche haue repugned, if some other had made difficulty to assent to him in the same, till further discussion had bene made thereupon. But now, forasmuch as besides hys owne certaine vnderstanding, and the agreement of thys whole Cleargie to the same in both Prouinces of hys realme 
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This refers to Canterbury and York provinces of the church.

, his maiestie hath also for him the determinatiōs 
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The university of Bologna decided in the king's favour on 10 June 1530, followed shortly by the university of Padua on 1 July 1530.

of the moste famous vniuersities of Christendome, MarginaliaVniuersities stāding with the kinges cause and most indifferent to pronounce and geue iudgement in this case, and among them, the Vniuersitie of Bonony, (all feare of the Pope set apart) concluding against his power: and also Padua (the Venetians threates not regarded) geuynge their sentence for the truth & euident words of Gods law: there should no man, as seemeth to him, gainsay or wythstand, either in word or dede, the truth thus opened, but for his honor and duetie to the obseruation of Gods law, willingly embrace and receiue the same.

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According whereunto his grace perceiueth also aswell in his Realme, as els where, a notable consent and agreement amongest all Diuines, and suche as haue studied for knowledge of Gods lawe without contradiction of anye number, vnlesse it be such applying their minde to þe maintenaunce of worldly affections, do either in defence of such lawes as they haue studied, eyther for satisfaction of theyr priuate appetite, forbeare to agree vnto þe same. The number of whō is so smal, as in the discerning of truth, it ought not to be regarded in a case so plainly described and determined by Gods word, as thys is.

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MarginaliaBoth the number and matter maketh with the king.And if percase your Maiestie heere not regarding the number, but the matter, shall seme to consider in thys case, not so much who speaketh, as what is spoken, to aunswer thereunto, I say: Syr, the king my maister is of the same mind, for his own satisfactiō, & taketh hymselfe to be in the right, not because so many sayeth it, but because hee being learned, knoweth the matter to be right. Neuertheles, reason would, and enforceth also, that straungers to the cause, and not parties therein, should be induced to beleue that to be truth, that such a number of Clearkes doe so constantlyaffirme, specially not being otherwise learned to be iudges of theyr sayings, as your maiestie is not. And if you were, then could your highnesse shew such reasons, authorities, and grounds as cannot be taken away, and be so firm and stable, as they ought not of Christen men in any part to be impugned, like as hath bene partly heeretofore shewed by his sondry ambassadours to your Imperiall maiestie, and shuld eftsoones be done, were it not too great an iniury to þt is already passed in the Realme, to dispute the same againe in any other countrey: which being contrarious to the lawes and ordinances of his realme, he trusteth your prudēcie will not require, but take that is past, for a thing done, and iustly done: and as for Gods part, to leaue hys conscience to himself, qui Domino sua stat aut cadit: and for þe world to passe ouer as a frend, that whych nothing toucheth you, and not to maruell though the said king my master regarding the wealth of his soule principally, with the commodity of his person, and so great benefit & quiet of his realm, haue percase done þt he for his priuate fantasie, woulde not had chaunced: like as his highnesse also would wish it had not happened that such cause had bene geuen vnto hym to compell him so to doe.

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MarginaliaThe seconde parte of his Oration touching the manner of the kinges procedinges.But these things in their outward visage be but worldly, and inwardly touch and concerne the soule. Quid autem prodest homini si vniuersum mundum lucretur, animæ vero suæ detrimentum patiatur. Primum quærite regnum Dei. &c. And yet neither his highnes ignorant what respect is to be had vnto the world: and how much he hath laboured and trauailed therein, hee hath sufficiently declared and shewed to the world in his acts and proceedings. For if he had vtterly contempned the order and processe of the worlde, or the frendshippe and amitie of your Maiestie: he needed not to haue sent so often and sundry Ambassates to the Pope, and to you both, nor continued and spente his time in delayes, as he hath done hetherto, but might many yeres past, haue done that he hath don now, if it had so liked hym, and with as litle difficulty then as nowe, if he would haue wythout such respect, folowed hys pleasure in that behalf. But now I doubt not, your maiestie doth wel remember how often the king my master hath sent vnto your highnes, and that your maiestie hath heard also what sutes hee hath made to the Pope, and how the sayd Pope hath handled him again onely in delay and daliance, MarginaliaHow the Pope dalyed with the king by delayes. wyth open commission 

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This refers to the secret decretal commission which allowed cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio to decide the matrimonial case in England. It was destroyed before it could be seized and published.

geuen to his Legates to determine and geue sentence for hym by a commission decretall, and secretly to geue them instructions to suspend and put ouer the same. By which meanes and other semblable, hee perceaued playnly himselfe to be brought in such a labirinth as going forward that way, he were like to come to no end, and was therefore compelled to steppe right forth at once to the mazes end, there to quyet and repose himselfe at the last.

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And is it not tyme to haue end in seuen yeare, or els to seeke for it an other way? The pope hath shewed hymselfe both vnwilling to haue an ende, and also ready and prone to do him iniurie, as well in citing hym to Rome, as also sending forth certayne breues to his grace sclaunderous, and for the iniustice and iniquitie of them, to himself dishonorable: as he gaue hys highnes good and iust cause to suspect, least any end to be made at hys hand (if any he would make) might be in hys conscience receiued and followed. For the pope doyng iniury in some poynt, why should he be thought conuenient Iudge, not vsing hymselfe indifferently in this matter, (as many moe particularities may be shewed and declared) considering, there is a generall Councell, MarginaliaThis generall Councell was the first Councell of Constantinople. willing al matters to be determined where they first began, and that the whole body of our Realm hath for the wealth of the same, by a law established the determination of such causes? By reason wherof 

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The final decision in England was made by Archbishop Cranmer at his tribunal at The Priory of St Peter at Dunstable on 23 May 1533 [for which, see Andrew A Chibi, Henry VIII's Conservative Scholar (Bern, 1997), pp.82-4].

the Bishop of Canterbury as metropolitane of our Realme, hath geuen sentence in due iudgement for the kinges partie. It is not to be asked nor questioned, whether that matter hath bene determined after the common fashion, but whether it hath in it common iustice, truth and equitie of Gods lawe. For obseruatiō of the common order, hys grace hath done that lay in hym, and inforced by necessitie hath found the true order mayntainable by Gods worde & generall Councels which he hath in substaunce followed with effect, and hath done as becommeth hym, tendring eyther Gods lawe, or hys person, or the wealth of hys Realme, like as he doubteth not but your maiestie (as a wise Prince) remembring his cause from the beginning hetherto, will of your selfe consider and thinke, þt among mortall men, nothing shuld be immortall, & suites must once haue an end: Si possis rectè, si non, quocunque modo. And if he cannot as he would, his highnesse thē to do as he may, & he þt hath a iourny to be perfited, must if he cānot go one way, assay an other. What soeuer hath bene herein done, necessitie hath enforced hym

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