CRANMER, THOMAS, Archbishop of Canterbury; born in Aslacton, Not tinghamshire, July 2, 1489. The opinion which he gave on the question of Henry VIII.'s divorce from his first wife, Cath arine of Arragon, recommended him to that monarch, who employed him to vin dicate the measure, and sent him, in 1530, with other envoys, to maintain his view before the Pope. His mission was fruit less. On his way home, he visited Ger many, and at Nurnberg married a niece of Osiander. After his return he was raised to the archbishopric of Canter bury, in which office he zealously pro moted the cause of the Reformation. Through his means the Bible was trans lated and read in churches; and he great ly aided in suppressing the monastic in stitutions. A few weeks after his ap pointment, he pronounced, in a court held at Dunstable, the sentence of divorce of Catharine, and confirmed the king's mar riage with Anne Boleyn. In 1536, when Anne Boleyn was destined to lose her rep utation and her life, he meanly stooped to promote the sentence of divorce. This and other compliances with the monarch's will insured him the gratituee of Henry, who upheld him in all his contests with Bishop Gardiner and others who accused him of heresy and faction. By Henry's
will he was appointed one of the council of regency to Edward VI.; and as the young king was brought up chiefly under the archbishop's care, it enabled him to further the objects of the Reformation in a regular and consistent manner, by framing the liturgy, the homilies, articles of religion, etc. On the accession of Mary, he was committed to the Tower, along with Latimer and Ridley. In March, 1554, they were removed to Oxford, and confined there in common prison. Lati mer and Ridley bore their cruel fate with courage; but the spirit and principles of Cranmer temporarily gave way under the severity of his sufferings. He was in duced, in the hope of saving his life, to sign no fewer than seven recantations; but his enemies were determined on his death. On March 21, 1556, he suffered martyrdom, as his fellow-reformers had done, opposite Baliol College. His cour age returned at the end, and he died repenting that he had changed his faith.