- Cranmer, Thomas
- (1489–1556)Liturgist, Archbishop and Martyr.Cranmer was born in Nottinghamshire and was educated at the University of Cambridge. He was useful to King Henry VIII in the matter of his divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon and, in consequence, was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Later he annulled the King’s marriages to Anne Boleyn and to Anne of Cleves. He was a convinced Protestant; he encouraged the translation of the Bible into English and was responsible for the Ten Articles. During the reign of King Edward VI he was highly influential. On his initiative, continental theologians such as peter martyr and Martin bucer were invited to England, and he was largely responsible for the Prayer Books of 1549 and 1552. However, on the accession of the Roman Catholic Queen mary, the daughter of King Henry and Queen Catherine, he was put on trial for treason and heresy. Initially he recanted his Protestantism, but in 1556 he reasserted his beliefs. He died with extraordinary courage, being burnt at the stake at Oxford. According to eyewitnesses, he plunged his right hand into the flames first because it was his right hand that had betrayed his true convictions by signing the document of recantation. Cranmer is remembered both for his martyrdom and for his wonderful prose style, which is preserved in the English Book of Common Prayer.P. Avis and D. Selwyn (eds), Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar (1993);P. Brooks, Cranmer in Context (1989);D. Loades, Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation (1991);D. MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: A Life (1996).
Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.