4 December 1555 – Thomas Cranmer deprived of his archbishopric

Thomas CranmerOn 4th December 1555, Papal sentence was passed on Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, in Rome, depriving him of his archbishopric “and of all ecclesiastical dignities” and giving permission to the secular authorities in England to to decide on his fate.

Cranmer had been found guilty of treason and sentenced to death along with Lady Jane Grey, Guildford Dudley, Ambrose Dudley and Henry Dudley on 13th November 1553 but had been kept in prison ever since. He was tried in Oxford for heresy on the 12th September 1555 with Bishops Latimer and Ridley and although Latimer and Ridley were found guilty immediately, and were burnt at the stake on the 16th October 1555, Cranmer had to wait for a final verdict from Rome.

Although Cranmer recanted his Protestant faith five times, which should have resulted in absolution, his execution date was set for the 21st March 1556. He was ordered to make a final public recantation before his execution but, instead, he renounced his previous recantations and spoke of the Pope as “Christ’s enemy and antichrist”. He was burned at the stake, a martyr to his faith.

You can find out more about his life in my article The Life of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.

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