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The Tudor Society
  • 19 May – A dispensation for Henry VIII to marry wife number 3

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th May 1536, Queen Anne Boleyn was executed within the confines of the Tower of London.

    It must have been an incredibly hard day for the queen’s friend, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Not only did he have a visit from a friend regarding a terrifying vision, in the early hours… Not only did he have to cope with the idea of his friend and patron being beheaded, but he had to issue a dispensation for the king to marry again!

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 30 March – Thomas Cranmer and his protestation

    On this day in Tudor history, 30th March 1533, at the Passion Sunday service, Thomas Cranmer, Archdeacon of Taunton, was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.

    His consecration was not like those of others before him, however, because as well as making the usual oath promising to be faithful to the papacy and to denounce heretics, he also made a protestation to show that his oath would not conflict with his loyalty to King Henry VIII and his commitment to reforming the church. Hmmmm…. complicated.

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  • 4 December – The beginning of the end for Thomas Cranmer

    On this day in Tudor history, 4th December 1555, in Rome, papal sentence was passed on Thomas Cranmer, resulting in Cranmer being deprived of his archbishopric. Permission was also granted for his fate to be decided by the secular authorities.

    In today’s “on this day in history”, I explain what led Cranmer to this day and also what happened next. Thomas Cranmer went on to recant his Protestant faith on several occasions, but was still executed by being burned at the stake. Why?

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 12 September – Thomas Cranmer is in big trouble

    On this day in Tudor history, Thursday 12th September 1555, in the reign of Catholic Queen Mary, the trial of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, began in Oxford.

    Archbishop Cranmer, who had, of course, played his part in the annulment of Mary I’s parents’ marriage (King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine of Aragon) was accused of heresy. Cranmer, however, did not recognise the authority of the court. His intelligent answers to his accusers were to do no good, and he became one of the famous Oxford Martyrs in 1556.

    Find out more about what happened at his trial, and what happened next, in this talk.

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  • Thomas Cranmer Quiz

    Thomas Cranmer, who served as Archbishop of Canterbury in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Jane and part of Mary I’s, is a fascinating Tudor personality. But how much do you know about the man who was burnt at the stake in 1556? Test yourself with this fun quiz.

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  • The Trial of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

    On this day in history, Thursday 12th September 1555, in the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I, the trial of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, opened in the University Church of St Mary the Virgin at Oxford. Cranmer stood accused of heresy, being charged with two main offences, or doctrinal errors: repudiating papal authority and denying transubstantiation.

    Martyrologist John Foxe gives an account of Thomas Cranmer’s trial in his “Book of Martyrs”:

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  • Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

    Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born on 2nd July 1489 in Aslockton, Nottinghamshire, England. He was the son of Thomas Cranmer and his wife Agnes (nee Hatfield). He had an older brother, John, a younger brother, Edmund, and a sister called Alice.

    Cranmer’s father died in 1501. His mother sent Cranmer to grammar school and then in 1503, when he was fourteen years old, he was sent to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree. His degree, which comprised logic, philosophy and classical literature, took him eight years to complete and he followed it with a Masters degree, studying the humanists. After obtaining his Masters degree in 1515, Cranmer he was elected to a Fellowship of Jesus College. Following his marriage to his first wife, Joan, he was forced to relinquish his fellowship and became a reader at Buckingham College. Sadly, Joan died in childbirth and the child also died.

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