22 April 1536 – Archbishop Cranmer’s Strange Letter

Posted By on April 22, 2014

Thomas CranmerOn the 22nd April 1536, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who had been away from court staying at his country residence, Knole House, wrote a letter to Thomas Cromwell. In it he said:

“I was ever hitherto cold, but now I am in a heat with the cause of religion, which goeth all contrary to mine expectation, if it be as the fame goeth; wherein I would wonder fain break my mind unto you, and if you please, I will come to such place as you shall appoint for the same purpose. Thus He that made you, ever keep you. From Knol, the 22 day of April.”

It’s a very odd letter. Is it a coded reference to goings-on at court? Had Cranmer heard gossip that both Anne and the new religion were being threatened? Or is he referring to Thomas Cromwell’s policy regarding the dissolution of the lesser monasteries? Is Cranmer withdrawing his support for Cromwell’s idea? It’s hard to know and historians have different theories.  There is no reply from Thomas Cromwell on record, so we can only hypothesise about this letter.

This is one of the events on my The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown interactive timeline – click here to view it now.

Notes and Sources

  • ed. Jenkyns, Rev. Henry (1833) The Remains of Thomas Cranmer, Volume I, p162