Cranmer, Thomas (14891566)

Cranmer, Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, born in Nottinghamshire; educated at Jesus College, Cambridge; recommended himself to Henry VIII. by favouring his divorce, writing in defence of it, and pleading for it before the Pope, the latter in vain, as it proved; on his return was elevated to the archbishopric, in which capacity he proved a zealous promoter of the Reformation, by having the Bible translated and circulated, and by the suppression of monasteries; pronounced sentence of divorce of Catharine, and confirmed the king's marriage with Anne Boleyn; by these and other compliances he kept the favour of Henry, but on the accession of Mary he was committed to the Tower and persuaded to recant, and even signed a recantation, but on being called to recant in public, and refusing to do so, he was dragged to the stake, thrust his right hand into the flames, and exclaimed, “Oh, this unworthy hand” (14891566).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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