30 March 1533 – Thomas Cranmer is consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury

On this day in history, 30th March 1533, at the Passion Sunday service, Thomas Cranmer, Archdeacon of Taunton, was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury by the Bishops of Lincoln, Exeter, and St Asaph at St Stephen’s College, Westminster Palace.

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Cranmer’s predecessor, William Warham, had died on 22nd August 1532. Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury until December 1555 when Papal sentence was passed on him, depriving him of his archbishopric “and of all ecclesiastical dignities” and giving permission to the secular authorities in England to decide on his fate. He had been tried for heresy. He was burnt at the stake on 21st March 1556. Cardinal Reginald Pole replaced him as Archbishop of Canterbury on 22nd March 1556.

Also on this day in history, 30th March 1558, Queen Mary I made her will, believing that she would soon give birth, and childbirth was a risky process – click here to read more.

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One thought on “30 March 1533 – Thomas Cranmer is consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury”
  1. Thomas Cranmer was hedging his bets with his oath. He may have been sincere in his oath to Henry and his protest, but all he did was put it on a piece of paper which he later had read to protect himself from being seen as a hypocrite. He accused Thomas More of doing that when More offered to accept part of the Oath of Succession and said nothing about his refusal to sign the Supremacy. Not surprisingly, this paper was raised and Cranmer felt a bit uncomfortable. Cranmer had to make a protest because he still had to be confirmed as Archbishop by Rome, plus Henry asked the Pope to accept his candidate before making him Archbishop. His oath still contained loyalty to Rome, since legislation had not yet established Henry’s knew Church. His protest showed he was loyal to Henry first and not in conflict by his appointment to a Roman Catholic See. Unlike Thomas More, however, Cranmer would continue this pattern of crossing his fingers subterfuge, being a reformed Archbishop while condemning other reformers and heretics to death, changing sides under Henry and via his various recantings later under Mary. Regardless of what one may think of More, at least he was consistent. Cranmer may have been suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome or he may have hoped his various recanted public declarations would save him, but at the same time, he and other reformers took the same firm hand with those legally condemned for religious errors as the Marian government later took with them. Not that I blame him, for his fate was horrifying. I merely see an ironic pattern which followed Cranmer all of his life.

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