Thomas Cranmer: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Thomas Cranmer.

  • Thomas Cranmer was born in 1489 near Nottingham, England. He spent 8 years at college in Cambridge, collected Medieval books and was awarded a Master of Arts.

  • Thomas Cranmer was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1532 to 1555. He was also one of the leaders of the English Reformation.
  • Cranmer was popular with King Henry VIII, because he supported the King’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
  • One of Cranmer’s most important achievements was writing the Book of Common Prayer.
  • Thomas Cranmer heard the last words of King Henry VIII as he lay on his deathbed. apparently, Henry squeezed Cranmer’s hand so hard that he took it to be a sign from God.
  • Cranmer was not allowed to acknowledge the existence of his wife while he was Archbishop. Some historians claim that he carried her around in a box with air holes in it.
  • Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Edward VI. When the king made it clear that he he wanted his cousin, Lady Jane Grey (a Protestant), rather than Mary (the Catholic daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon) to succeed him, Thomas Cranmer supported him.
  • When Mary became the Queen of England, Cranmer and other key figures of the English Reformation were put on trial. Cranmer was executed by being burnt at the stake on 21st March 1556. He was 66 years old.
  • Thomas Cranmer is commemorated in the Communion service of the Anglican Church, on the anniversary of his death on March 21st.

What next? Find out more Tudor facts by visiting our Tudor resources page.

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