Passion Sunday 1533 – Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury

Posted By on March 30, 2015

Thomas_Cranmer_by_Gerlach_Flicke On 30th March 1533, Passion Sunday, Thomas Cranmer, Archdeacon of Taunton, was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury in St Stephen’s College, Westminster Palace.

As Beth von Staats points out in her forthcoming book Thomas Cranmer: In a Nutshell, “To insure the king’s ultimate authority over the clergy in England, Cranmer swore to two completely inconsistent oaths, one to the Pope as tradition prescribed, the other to the monarch.” You can read more about this and the “protestation” Cranmer made before taking his oath, in my article 30 March 1533 – Thomas Cranmer Became Archbishop of Canterbury.

2 thoughts on “Passion Sunday 1533 – Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury”

  1. Gail Marion says:

    Coincidently, last evening I read a comment about Cranmer from Derek Wilson’s excellent book Henry VIII – Reformer and Tyrant. “Cranmer was a dutiful yes-man who could be relied upon to do as he was told in terms of religious policy. Henry felt some affection for the archbishop and relied on his advice in matters theological but Cranmer was essentially an academic and not equipped for the cut and thrust of national and international statecraft.”

    1. That is an interesting statement Derek makes there, Gail. I do agree that Cranmer was accommodating to the king, but I find “yes man” an overly negative description of Cranmer’s motivations. Thomas Cranmer believed 100% heart and soul in the scriptural truth of the royal supremacy, and that drove his motivations. Beyond this, as Cranmer and Henry’s relationship grew close over time, the archbishop often engaged in spirited debate with the king, their discussions in writing stating their vehement disagreement over the Six Articles of Faith just one example of Cranmer’s willingness to state his truth even when in opposition to the king’s will. This stated, Cranmer respectfully deferred, which is in complete alignment with the king’s authority as defined in the Act of Supremacy. Derek is correct that His Grace was politically naive. Oddly this political naivety in the long run in Henry’s reign in measure led to his survival through it, as beyond Charles Brandon, there was no courtier in that earned the king’s affection and trust more than Cranmer. I always wondered how Henry would have reacted had he learned of Cranmer’s marriage to Margarete. Would he have forgiven Cranmer as he did Brandon? My guess is likely not, particularly after the passage of the Six Articles.

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