Cranmer, Thomas biographical name
(born July 2, 1489, Aslacton, Nottinghamshire, Eng.died March 21, 1556, Oxford) First Protestant archbishop of Canterbury. Educated at the University of Cambridge, he was ordained in 1523. He became involved in Henry VIII's negotiations with the pope over divorcing Catherine of Aragon. In 1533 Henry appointed him archbishop of Canterbury, putting him in a position to help overthrow papal supremacy in England. He annulled Henry's marriage to Catherine, supported his marriage to Anne Boleyn, and later helped him divorce her. After Henry's death in 1547, Cranmer became an influential adviser to the young Edward VI, moving England firmly in a Protestant direction. He wrote the Forty-two Articles, from which the Thirty-nine Articles of Anglican belief were derived. When the strongly anti-Protestant Mary I became queen, Cranmer was tried, convicted of heresy, and burned at the stake.
Thomas Cranmer, detail of an oil painting by Gerlach Flicke, 1545; in the National Portrait
—Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London
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