During the reign of Mary, Cranmer was put to death. Continued from “The Life of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer” to commemorate the execution of Cranmer on this day in history, the 21st March 1556. Whether Cranmer knew this or not is not known, however, on the the date of his final recantation at University Church he gave way. Mary had good cause to dislike Cranmer. Mary had her pound of flesh. And the bishop answered, (showing his hand), ‘This was the hand that wrote it, and therefore shall it suffer first punishment.’ As he promised, he plunged his right hand in the heart of the flames calling it an “unworthy hand”. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! On January 31, 1547, Cranmer was one of the executors of Henry VIII’s will which named Edward Seymour as Lord Protector of the boy king, Edward VI. And yet again he required him to agree to his former recantation. It is unknown who else helped him write, but Cranmer is given credit for editing and the overall structure of the book. And, when they are once overpassed, I like not to rehearse them again; being but a renewing of my woe, and doubling my grief. Thomas Cranmer was born in 1489 to Thomas and Agnes Cranmer, a moderately wealthy family but certainly no aristocrats. Cranmer served as Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of the English kings Henry VIII and Edward VI. Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Archbishop of Canterbury. This was as much as surprise to him as it was to the rest of England. 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 had played a major role in the divorce of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII so Henry could marry Anne Boleyn. Thomas Cranmer Photo Credit- National Portrait Gallery. In a surprising turn, Cranmer recanted and reputed his former reformist beliefs. He declared that his hand would burn first since it had written the recantations. When praying was done, he stood up, and, having leave to speak, said, ‘Good people, I had intended indeed to desire you to pray for me; which because Mr Doctor hath desired, and you have done already, I thank you most heartily for it. In December 1554, that honor was revoked by Rome and now he was fair game to be killed. He recanted his recantations and reaffirmed his beliefs in the reformed church of England. And, when he had ascended it, he kneeled him down and prayed, weeping tenderly: which moved a great number to tears, that had conceived an assured hope of his conversion and repentance…. And when the friars saw his constancy, they said in Latin to one another ‘Let us go from him: we ought not to be nigh him: for the devil is with him.’ But the bachelor of divinity was more earnest with him: unto whom he answered, that, as concerning his recantation, he repented it right sore, because he knew it was against the truth; with other words more. This was all supposed to save his life as in Canon Law if he recanted, his life would be spared. 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. Those were fighting words to the new regime. Much of the Book of Common Prayer was influenced if not directly written by Cranmer. He was educated at Cambridge, and became a priest following the death of his first wife. He was tried and convicted two months later, but instead of being executed he was sent to Bocardo prison to be put on trial for heresy along with fellow bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. And forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished: for if I may come to the fire, it shall be first burned. And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy and antichrist, with all his false doctrine.’ He lost his fellowship because he was not ordained, but took vows in 1520 and regained it. And here he was suffered to speak no more…. There are so many blots on his life that one almost hesitates to include him among the heroes of faith. And he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, which gave the throne legal sovereignty over the Church in England. Treason and Death: On the 13th November 1553, Thomas Cranmer was found guilty of treason and condemned to death. Death of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Then declared, “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine.” He was dragged from the pulpit and his fate was sealed. Cranmer had reluctantly supported the claims of Lady Jane Grey to the throne of England against Mary Tudor but though he was accused of treason he was put to death for heresy. A. N. Wilson explains why he still matters. In 1553, when Edward VI was certain that his health showed no progress, he devised the ascension of his Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey, disregarding the acts of succession which put Mary and Elizabeth next in line. Whilst Cranmer was not in favour of Edward’s will, he ultimately supported the King’s decision. His friends sorrowed for love; his enemies for pity; strangers for a common kind of humanity, whereby we are bound one to another. 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. Which here now I renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand, contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death, and to save my life, if it might be: and that is, all such bills, which I have written or signed with mine own hand since my degradation: wherein I have written many things untrue.
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