Who was the real Thomas Cranmer? What was role in the Reformation?



  • 2ND JULY Thomas Cranmer was born in Aslockton in Nottinghamshire, England the son of Thomas Cranmer and Agnes (née Hatfield
  • Thomas’s father Thomas Cranmer died
  • Thomas attends the Jesus College, Cambridge. Thomas studied at the college for eight long years before completing his Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Thomas receives his Master of Arts degree and is also elected to a Fellowship of Jesus College.
  • Thomas married a woman of the name of Joan and begins work as reader at Buckingham Hall, which was later reformed as Magdalene College. Even though Thomas is not a priest, he is was forced to forfeit his fellowship of the Jesus College. Joan worked at an inn called The Dolphin, because of this she was known as "Black Joan of the Dolphin. Thomas became a teacher at Buckingham College.
  • Joan, Thomas wife died during her childbirth. Jesus College showed its regard for Cranmer by reinstating his fellowship.
  • Thomas began studying theology and took holy orders.
  • Thomas received his Doctor of Divinity degree
  • William Tyndale Publishes a translation of the New Testament in English.
  • Thomas joined Edward Lee, the Archbishop of York on a diplomatic mission to the emperor Charles V in Spain.
  • JUNE King Henry VIII of England, personally interviewed Cranmer for half an hour. Cranmer described the king as "the kindest of princes"
  • Ralph Morice becomes a secretary to Thomas.
  • AUGUST Thomas, stayed with relatives in Waltham Holy Cross to avoid an outbreak of the plague in Cambridge. Thomas had a chance meeting with Stephen Gardiner and Edward Foxe. It was here Thomas suggested that Henry VIII marriage should not be decided by the canon lawyers in the ecclesiastical courts, but by theologians in the universities.
  • FEBRUARY Thomas and Bishop Stephen Gardiner, began discussing the “Kings Great matter” the (divorce) with theologians from Cambridge University.
  • Simon Grynaeus visited England and struck up a friendship with Thomas .After his return from Basel, Simon wrote about Thomas to the German reformer Martin Bucer in Strasbourg.
  • JANUARY Thomas was appointed the resident ambassador at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. As the emperor traveled throughout his realm, Thomas had to follow him to his residence in Ratisbon (Regensburg)
  • SUMMER Thomas meets leading architect of the Nuremberg reforms, Andreas Osiander while in Germany.
  • JULY Thomas married for a second time to Margarete, the niece of Andreas Osiander's wife and a Lutheran.
  • 1ST OCTOBER Thomas receives a letter dated 1st October, informing him that William Warham Archbishop Canterbury is dead. Now Thomas is the named the new Archbishop Canterbury and was ordered to return to England now. The appointment was organized by the Boleyn family.
  • 19th NOVEMBER Thomas leaves Mantua for England.
  • JANUARY Thomas arrives in England.
  • 25TH JANUARY King Henry VIII England married Anne Boleyn
  • FEBRUARY Thomas learns of the Kings marriage to Anne Boleyn
  • 30TH MARCH Thomas is was consecrated as archbishop at St Stephen's Chapel
  • Thomas and king Henry VIII work on establishing legal procedures on how the monarch's marriage would be judged by his most senior clergy.
  • 10TH MAY Thomas opens the court for the divorce proceedings, he invited Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon to appear. Stephen Gardiner represented the king; Catherine did not appear or send a proxy.
  • 23RD MAY Thomas pronounced the judgement that Henry VIII marriage with Catherine of Aragon was against the law of God. He even issued a threat of excommunication if Henry VIII did not stay away from Catherine this was held at a special court at Dunstable Priory
  • 28TH MAY Thomas validated King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn marriage
  • 1ST JUNE Thomas personally crowned and anointed Anne queen and delivered to her the sceptre and rod
  • SUMMER Thomas  wrote to the prioress of St Sepulchre's Nunnery asking her to bring Elizabeth Barton to his manor at Otford.
  • 4TH JULY The execution by burning of John Frith, English Protestant priest, writer. Thomas had difficult task of not only disciplining this reformer, but also watching him burnt
  • 9TH JULY Pope Clement VII, excommunicated King Henry VIII and his advisers (which included Thomas) unless he repudiated Anne Boleyn by the end of September.
  • 11TH AUGUST Thomas questions Elizabeth Barton.
  • 7TH SEPTEMBER Anne Boleyn gives birth to a girl. The future Elizabeth the 1st of England.
  • 10TH SEPTEMBER Thomas baptized the princess Elizabeth and acted as one of her godparents
  • 20TH APRIL The execution of Elizabeth Barton and Edward Bocking, for false heresies against King Henry VIII of England.
  • Thomas More is summoned before Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell at Lambeth Palace. Thomas More was happy to swear that the children of Anne Boleyn could succeed to the throne, but he could not declare on oath that all the previous Acts of Parliament had been valid. Thomas More words were “ He could not deny the authority of the pope "without the jeopardy of my soul to perpetual damnation”
  • 3RD NOVEMBER First Act of Supremacy is passed
  • DECEMBER King Henry VIII was discussing with Thomas and Thomas Cromwell the chances of leaving Anne without having to return to Catherine.
  • Stephen Gardiner and Thomas had a dispute about the visitation of his diocese
  • FEBRUARY Nicholas Shaxton, the Bishop of Salisbury is consecrated by Thomas and two other bishops at St Stephen's Chapel, Westminster
  • The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale published in Antwerp.
  • 6TH JULY The execution of Thomas More  at Tower Hill.
  • 18TH SEPTEMBER John Hilsey, Bishop of Rochester, consecrated by Thomas.
  • 7TH JANUARY  Catherine of Aragon is dead.
  • 3RD MAY Thomas wrote a letter to the king Henry VIII expressing his doubts about the queen's guilt, highlighting his own esteem for Anne
  • 16TH MAY Thomas saw Anne Boleyn in the Tower and heard her confession
  • 17TH MAY Thomas pronounced the marriage of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn null and void
  • The “Ten Articles” were first published by Thomas. These They were the first guidelines of the Church of England as it became independent of Rome.
  • 19TH MAY The execution of Anne Boleyn
  • 30TH MAY King Henry VIII of England married Jane Seymour
  • 6TH OCTOBER William Tyndale was burnt at the stake for heresy.
  • OCTOBER Pilgrimage of Grace. Thomas and Thomas Cromwell were the primary targets of the protesters' anger.
  • 12TH OCTOBER Jane Seymour gives birth to the future Edward VI of England
  • 15TH OCTOBER:  Prince Edward was christened at the Chapel Royal of Hampton Court Palace, Edwards two half-sisters, the 21-year-old lady Mary as godmother and the 4-year-old lady Elizabeth is present, who carried the chrisom. The Garter King of Arms (Sir Christopher Barker) proclaimed him as Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester. his godfathers were Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Thomas Cranmer.
  • 24TH OCTOBER Jane Seymour died
  • APRIL Thomas made Nicholas Ridley vicar of Herne, in Kent
  • Knole House and Otford Palace is taken from Thomas by King Henry VIII
  • 28TH MAY : Parliament met for the first time in three years. Thomas was present.
  • 29TH JUNE Thomas Howard, Charles Brandon and Thomas Cromwell dined with King Henry VIII as guests of Thomas, there were heated discussions about the late Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell charged Thomas Howard with disloyalty and Howard called Cromwell a liar
  • Thomas’ family were been exiled to the Continent
  • Thomas Helped establish The college of Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral. They were required to preach 20 sermons a year in their own parishes or in a church dependent on the Cathedral, as well as preaching in the Cathedral.
  • JUNE King Henry VIII with his new wife, Catherine Howard, left for his first visit to the north of England
  • OCTOBER A reformer named John Lascelles revealed to Thomas that Catherine Howard engaged in extramarital affairs. Cranmer gave the information to Thomas Audley and Edward Seymour
  • 1st NOVEMBER Thomas slips King Henry VIII a message during mass on All Saints Day with details of Catherine Howards past.
  • “The Prebendaries' Plot”. The plot was an attempt made by religious conservatives and cults in England to oust Thomas from office as archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas was formally accused of being a heretic
  • Thomas is arrested on grounds of treason.
  • Richard Cox became chancellor to Thomas. Richard had been employed to ferret out the "Prebendaries' Plot.
  • 12TH JULY  King Henry VIII married Catherine Parr
  • 7TH MARCH Stephen Gardiner s nephew German Gardiner was executed at Tyburn for his involved in the Prebendaries' Plot against Thomas
  • Gerlach Flicke painted a portrait of Thomas.
  • 28TH JANUARY Thomas performed his final duties for the king. When he gave a reformed statement of faith while gripping Henry VIII hand instead of giving him his last rites
  • 31ST JANUARY Thomas is one of the executors of the king's final will that nominated Edward Seymour as Lord Protector and welcomed the boy king, Edward VI . Thomas’ family return to England after exile.
  • The First Book of Homilies introduced by Thomas
  • 20TH FEBRUARY the coronation of Edward VI of England. Edward was crowned by Thomas
  • Thomas finished his work on an English Communion rite
  • JANUARY 21ST The Act of Uniformity is passed by parliament, this help to establish The Book of Common Prayer
  • 25TH APRIL Martin Bucer and Paul Fagius arrive in England and meet Thomas face to face for the first time.
  • 9TH JUNE The use of the new Prayer Book was made compulsory
  • JULY Thomas publishes, “The Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ”
  • 16TH OCTOBER Edward Seymour Lord protector is r was arrested on charges of treason
  • 22ND JANUARY Edward Seymour was executed
  • The Forty-Two Articles were written under the direction of Archbishop Thomas
  • 27TH SEPTEMBER Privy Council stopped the printing of the new Prayer Book and told Thomas to revise it.
  • Parliament approved the Second Prayer Book.
  • 2ND FEBRUARY Thomas was ordered to appoint John Knox as vicar of Allhallows Church in London placing him under the authority of the Bishop of London, Nicholas Ridley
  • 17TH JUNE King Edward VI England made his will noting Lady Jane Grey would succeed him, contravening the Third Succession Act. Thomas tried to speak to Edward alone, but he was refused and his audience with King Edward occurred in the presence of the Councillors. King Edward told him that he supported what he wrote in his will
  • 6TH JULY King Edward VI of England is dead
  • 10TH JULY The Lady Jane Grey is placed on the throne by members of the council which included John Dudley the Duke of Northumberland. Jane Grey is Queen of England for nine days. Jane Grey was proclaimed queen at the Cross in Cheapside, Bishop Nicholas Ridley of London preached a sermon in her favour at Paul's Cross, denouncing both Mary and Elizabeth as bastards.
  • 19TH JULYMary Tudor, the late King Henry VIII eldest daughter is Queen of England. The Lady Jane Grey is arrested along with all those who supported her as Queen.
  • 8TH AUGUST Thomas led King Edward VI funeral according to the rites of the Prayer Book.
  • 5TH SEPTEMBER Thomas was arrested appeared before royal commissioners at St Paul's deanery to answer questions about his role in the Jane Grey coup. Nine days later he was sent to the Tower of London. His household was broken up, much of his goods sold off, most of his Protestant books destroyed
  • 13TH NOVEMBER Thomas and the Lady Jane Grey and her husband Guildford were tried at Guildhall, together with Guildfords brothers Ambrose and Henry. Thomas, at first, pleaded ‘not guilty’, but after the case had been presented, and before the jury delivered their verdict, he changed his plea to ‘guilty’
  • 12TH FEBRUARY the Lady Jane Grey and Guildford Dudley are executed for high treason.
  • MARCH The Privy Council ordered Thomas, Nicholas Ridley, and Hugh Latimer to be transferred to Bocardo prison in to await a second trial for heresy. Thomas was held in Bocardo prison for a total of seventeen months
  • 14TH APRIL Edmund Bonner and Stephen Gardiner began an examination of Latimer, Ridley, and Thomas .
  • 12TH SEPTEMBER Thomas trial begins. Pope Paul IV appointed James Brooks, Bishop of Gloucester, to act as judge, which was held in St Mary's Church in Oxford Thomas Martin, counsel for the prosecution, subjected Thomas to what has been described as a "brilliant and merciless cross-examination", asking him about his relationship to "Black Joan of the Dolphin" in Cambridge, and his marriage to Margaret in Germany in 1532.
  • 16TH OCTOBER Hugh Latimer and Ridley are burnt at the stake after being found guilty of treason. Thomas was forced to watch. "It is reported that he fell to his knees in tears.
  • 13TH NOVEMBER Thomas was officially deprived of the See of Canterbury
  • NOVEMBER Thomas rote to Mary 1st England, asking her to assert and defend her royal supremacy over the Church of England and not to submit to the domination of the Bishop of Rome. When Mary received the letter she said that she considered it a sin to read, or even to receive, a letter from a heretic, and handed the letter to Archbishop Reginald Pole for him to respond.
  • 4TH DECEMBER Rome decided Thomas’ fate by depriving him of the archbishopric and giving permission to the secular authorities to carry out their sentence
  • 11TH DECEMBER Thomas was taken out of Bocardo Prison and placed in the house of the Dean of Christ Church.Hewas then very different from that of his two years in prison. He was in an academic community and treated as a guest.
  • 31ST DECEMBER Thomas met with Juan de Villagarcía
  • 1ST JANUARY Thomas met again with Juan de Villagarcía. Thomas was willing to sign the first of his statements, on papal supremacy.
  • 14TH FEBRUARY Thomas was degraded from holy orders and returned to Bocardo.
  • 14TH, 15TH AND 16TH FEBRUARY.Thomas made more statements and submissions, recanting.
  • 24TH FEBRUARY writ was issued to the mayor of Oxford and the date of Thomas’ execution was set. Thomas, two days after the writ was issued, a fifth statement, the first which could be called a true recantation was issued. Cranmer repudiated all Lutheran and Zwinglian theology, fully accepted Catholic theology including papal supremacy
  • 26TH FEBRUARY Thomas signed a fifth statement, written in Latin and probably by Villa García, that was signed by Cranmer and witnessed by Villa García and Henry Syddall
  • 18TH MARCH Thomas’ last recantation was issued
  • 20TH MARCH Juan de Villagarcía accompanied Thomas to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, where Thomas preached,
  • 21ST MARCH (Thomas’ Execution) Thomas was took to where Latimer and Ridley had been burnt six months beforehand. As the flames drew around him, he fulfilled his promise by placing his right hand into the heart of the fire while saying "that unworthy hand" and his dying words were, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit... I see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."
Thomas Cranmer  was executed by being Burnt to death at the age of sixty-six, at Oxford, Oxfordshire, England


  • Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury under the reign of King Henry VIII England. Then Edward VI and the Lady Jane Grey and finally Mary the 1st of England.


  • One of Thomas most important achievements was writing the Book of Common Prayer.


  • Thomas Had an older brother named John and a younger brother named Edmund.


  • Thomas was one of the leaders in the English reformation. Thomas came out of Catholicism and into the Protestant religion.



  • Thomas helped build the case for king Henry VIII of England’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon.


  • After the execution of Anne Boleyn, Thomas was one of the few that publicly mourned her death, he had been the Boleyn’s family chaplain



  • Thomas in 1547, mourned King Henry VIII death, he done this publicly by growing his beard. The beard was also a sign of his break with the past. Continental reformers grew beards to mark their rejection of the old Church and this significance of clerical beards was well understood in England.


  • Thomas’ second wife was Margarete. When Thomas was arrested in 1553, Margarete escaped to Germany, while his son was entrusted to his brother, Edmund Cranmer, who took him too to the Continent. Margarete Cranmer eventually married Cranmer's favorite publisher, Edward Whitchurch.



  • Even tough Despite Thomas made many statements of recantations, Queen Mary 1st England refused to pardon him and ordered Thomas to be burnt at the stake.


  • The deaths Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley are now known as the Oxford Martyrs.



  • Before Thomas Death, he signed a few recantations, however on during his execution he took back those recantations




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