Cranmer, Thomas (DNB00)
CRANMER, THOMAS (1489–1556), archbishop of Canterbury, was born at Aslacton in Nottinghamshire 2 July 1489. He came of an old family, originally of Lincolnshire, but for some generations settled in the county of his birth. His father, who bore the same christian name as himself, put him to school ‘with a marvellous severe and cruel schoolmaster,’ who is also described as ‘a rude parish clerk.’ His father really desired to give him some knowledge of letters, but was no less anxious that he should be skilled in such gentlemanlike exercises as shooting, hunting, and hawking. Owing to his physical training he was able when archbishop to ride the roughest horse as well as any of his household. But the care of his later education fell upon his mother, Agnes, daughter of Laurence Hatfield of Willoughby, who being left a widow sent him to Cambridge when he was fourteen. There he remained eight years studying philosophy and logic, but afterwards gave himself to the reading of Erasmus and the classics. He took the degree of B.A. in 1511–12, and that of M.A. in 1515. He became fellow of Jesus, but soon lost his fellowship by marriage, notwithstanding that, to prevent interruption of his university career, he had placed his wife at the Dolphin Inn at Cambridge, she being related to the good wife there. His visits to the inn were observed, and in after years, when he was archbishop, it was said that he had been an ostler or innkeeper (Foxe, viii. 4, 5; Nichols, Narratives of the Reformation, p. 269; Calendar, Henry VIII, vol. vii. No. 559). He was, however, appointed common reader at Buckingham (now Magdalene) College, and when a year after his marriage his wife died in childbirth, the master and fellows of Jesus re-elected him to a fellowship. He proceeded D.D. at Cambridge, and although solicited to become one of the foundation fellows of Wolsey's new college at Oxford he declined to leave the society which had shown him so great favour. He was admitted reader of a newly founded divinity lecture in Jesus College, and was chosen by the university one of the public examiners in theology.
In the summer of 1529 Cambridge was visited by a pestilence, and Cranmer removed with two scholars, the sons of a Mr. Cressy of Waltham Abbey, to the house of their father, whose wife was a relation of his own. At this time Henry VIII's suit for a divorce had begun before Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio in England, but the court had been prorogued, and every one knew that the cause would be removed to Rome in consequence of the queen's appeal. In great perplexity the king removed from Greenwich to Waltham with the two cardinals in his company. The two chief agents in the divorce, his secretary, Gardiner, and his almoner, Dr. Fox, went to Waltham and were lodged by the harbingers in Cressy's house while Cranmer was there. The three being old college friends naturally got into conversation on the chief topic of the day; and Cranmer gave an opinion as to the best mode of satisfying the king without the long delay that would be required to pursue the cause through all its stages at Rome. The king only wanted sufficient assurance of the invalidity of his first marriage, notwithstanding the dispensation, and he might then take the responsibility of marrying again at once. He ought therefore to take the opinions of divines at the universities, and act accordingly. This advice was reported by Foxe to the king two days after, and Cranmer was summoned to the royal presence at Greenwich. The king, who was greatly pleased, desired him to write his own mind on the subject, and recommended him to the Earl of Wiltshire, Anne Boleyn's father, into whose household at Durham Place he was accordingly received. In obedience to the king's command he wrote a treatise, with which, being commissioned as it is said to go down and dispute the matter at Cambridge, he in one day persuaded six or seven learned men there to take the king's part. It can hardly be, as Morice relates, that he had a joint commission with Gardiner and Foxe for this purpose; for it appears that Gardiner only went to Cambridge about it in February 1530, after Cranmer had gone abroad. But Gardiner's letter of that date shows that several of the graduates in theology had before then expressed their concurrence with the argument in Cranmer's book; and an attempt was made to exclude them from voting on the subject as men who had committed themselves to one view of it already.
In January 1530 the Earl of Wiltshire was sent ambassador with Dr. Stokesley and others to the emperor, Charles V, and Cranmer accompanied him to the meeting of the pope and emperor at Bologna. About this time he seems to have been promoted to the archdeaconry of Taunton (Le Neve says in 1525, but it appears Gardiner held it in 1529; see Calendar, Henry VIII, iv. 2698). While abroad on this mission he had an allowance of 6s. 8d. a day from the king, and he remained with his patron in Italy till September, when the embassy returned to England. In the interval he had gone to Rome, where he offered to dispute in the king's favour, and where the pope made him penitentiary for England. He remained at home, evidently still a member of the Earl of Wiltshire's household, during 1531, and we have a letter of his to the earl, dated from Hampton Court on 13 June of that year, giving his opinion of a book which had just been written by Reginald (afterwards cardinal) Pole, ‘much contrary to the king's purpose’ in the matter of the divorce. On 24 Jan. 1532 he was sent to the emperor in Germany to relieve Sir Thomas Eliot, who was allowed to return home. He joined the imperial court at Ratisbon, where, among other things, he had certain remonstrances to make about English commerce with the Low Countries. In July he stole away from Ratisbon on a secret mission to John Frederic, duke of Saxony, with whom he also left letters from the king for the Dukes of Luneburg and Anhalt, and whom he assured of the support both of England and France in the opposition of the German princes to the emperor. The intrigue was a total failure; for the pacification of Nuremberg was already being negotiated, and was published a few days after. Cranmer, however, remained in favour with Charles V, whom he accompanied to Vienna and afterwards to Mantua, where he received his recall, the king having determined to promote him to the archbishopric of Canterbury, which had just become vacant by the death of Warham. The promotion was altogether unexpected by himself, and he had made very bad preparation for it by marrying in Germany a niece of Osiander; nor is there any reason to doubt his own protest before the commissioners who tried him at Oxford in Queen Mary's days, that he accepted it with reluctance and delayed his coming home (as he said, ‘by seven weeks at the least’) in the hope that the king might change his purpose.
He sent his wife secretly to England in advance of him, and seems to have arrived there himself early in January 1533. Within a week of his arrival it was made known that he was to be the new archbishop. The king was in the habit of allowing rich bishoprics to remain vacant about a year, but on this occasion he had filled up the vacancy in four months and even advanced money to the archbishop designate to enable him to procure his bulls without delay. It was at once suspected that the king's object was to obtain from the new metropolitan, as ‘legatus natus’ in England, authority to proceed to a new marriage, treating his union with Catherine of Arragon as invalid. And though this was known at Rome it was found impossible to resist the king's request that the bulls of the new archbishop might be sped at once and even without the customary payment of first-fruits. The bull was passed on 22 Feb., and on 30 March following Cranmer was consecrated at Westminster by the Bishops of Lincoln, Exeter, and St. Asaph. Just before the ceremony he made a protest before witnesses that the oath he was about to take of obedience to the pope he meant to take merely as a matter of form, and that it should not bind him to anything against the king, or prevent him from reforming anything that he found amiss in the church of England. He further, before obtaining possession of his temporalities, which were restored on 19 April, took an oath to the king renouncing all grants from the pope that might be prejudicial to his highness.
Even before his temporalities were restored he had taken the first step towards the gratification of Henry's wishes in the matter of the divorce. On 11 April he wrote to the king asking permission, by virtue of the high office conferred upon him by the king himself, to take cognisance of his grace's ‘great cause of matrimony.’ Of course it was readily conceded, and Catherine was cited to appear before the archbishop at Dunstable. Here Cranmer opened his court on 10 May, when he pronounced Catherine contumacious for non-appearance; and after three further sittings (during which period he expressed to Cromwell his great anxiety that the matter should be kept secret, lest she should be induced to recognise his jurisdiction) he gave formal sentence on the 23rd as to the invalidity of the marriage. Five days later at Lambeth he held a secret investigation, as the result of which he pronounced judicially that the king was lawfully married to Anne Boleyn.
On 10 Sept. in the same year he stood godfather to the Princess Elizabeth at her baptism. A month before he had examined the fanatical ‘Nun of Kent,’ Elizabeth Barton [q. v.] , on the subject of her pretended revelations. Her prophecies had failed to deter the king from marrying Anne Boleyn; but what was to become of the couple had been partly revealed to her in a trance, and she expected to be answered fully in another on the archbishop allowing her to go down into Kent for the purpose. Cranmer gave her leave to do so in order that she might commit herself more fully, and then handed her over to Cromwell to be examined further touching her adherents. He also examined some of the monks of Christ Church as to their complicity in her revelations.
Favoured by the king, who continued to lend money to him (Calendar, Henry VIII, vol. vi. No. 1474), he could not but be the subservient instrument of Henry's policy. In Easter week of the following year he issued an inhibition to the clergy forbidding any of them to preach without taking out new licenses. This was apparently the result of an express admonition from the king, and designed to prevent the marriage with Anne Boleyn being denounced from the pulpit. Soon after an order was taken ‘for preaching and bidding of beads,’ by which the licensed pulpit orators were directed to inveigh against the authority of the pope, but not to preach either for or against purgatory, worship of saints, marriage of priests, and some other subjects for the space of a year (ib. vol. vii. Nos. 463, 464, 750–1, 871). A considerable change of doctrine was thus already contemplated, but was referred to a future decision of the archbishop, who, being now the highest ecclesiastical authority recognised in the land, was invested with some of the functions hitherto exercised by the pope. He granted bulls and dispensations, consecrated bishops by his own act, and, greatly to the annoyance of his suffragans, two or three of whom in vain protested, held a general visitation of his province in 1534. ‘Of all sorts of men,’ he himself writes at this time to the lord chancellor, ‘I am daily informed that priests report the worst of me’ (ib. No. 702; Works, ii. 291). He was enthroned at Canterbury 3 Dec. 1534 (Chronicle of St. Augustine's, in ‘Narratives of the Reformation,’ p. 280, says 1533, but it was certainly next year; see Calendar, vol. vii. No. 1520). On 10 Feb. in the following year he took the lead in the formal abjuration made by each of the bishops singly of allegiance to the see of Rome. But though he so readily lent himself to the establishment of the royal supremacy, he certainly did his best to prevent the martyrdom of those who could not conscientiously accept it. When More and Fisher, after their examination at Lambeth, expressed their willingness to swear to the new act of succession, but not to the preamble, he urged strongly that it would be politic to accept their obedience to this extent without pressing them further; and in April 1535, after the Charter House monks were condemned, he suggested to Cromwell that efforts should be made to procure recantations, at least from Webster, prior of Axholme, and Reynold of Sion, rather than that they should be made to suffer the extreme penalty of the law. But in neither application was he successful, and on 3 June 1535 he was one of the lords who went to the Tower to examine Sir Thomas More, though the chief examiner seems to have been Lord-chancellor Audeley. Next day he received royal letters, which were sent to the other bishops also, and followed up by a royal proclamation on the 9th, directing them on every Sunday and high feast throughout the year to preach that the king was supreme head of the church of England. Another duty enjoined upon them was to have the pope's name erased from every service book. How Cranmer fulfilled these injunctions his own letters testify on more than one occasion; and in August following he refers to Dr. Layton, the king's visitor, who heard him preach in his own cathedral, as a witness of his obedience.
Next year, on 2 May, Anne Boleyn was suddenly sent to the Tower, her trial and execution following within less than three weeks. Her old chaplain, the archbishop, received orders on the day of her arrest to come up from the country to Lambeth, where he was to remain till further intimation was made of the king's pleasure. He wrote Henry a letter expressive of some perplexity, but after concluding it he was sent for to the Star-chamber, where the case against Anne was officially declared to him, and he added in a postscript: ‘I am exceedingly sorry that such faults can be proved by [i.e. against] the queen.’ After her condemnation he visited her in the Tower. The king was determined not only to put Anne to death, but to prove that he had never been married to her. Cranmer procured from her in conversation an avowal of certain circumstances which, though never openly stated in justification of the king's conduct, were considered to affect the validity of her marriage; and just as in 1533 he had pronounced that marriage valid he now on 17 May 1536 pronounced it to have been null and void from the first; the grounds on which either decision was pronounced being equally withheld from the public.
In the convocation which met in June and July following the sentence against Anne was confirmed, and a body of ten articles touching doctrines and ceremonies—the first formula of faith put forth by the church of England—was agreed to. These articles seem to have been drafted by the king himself and revised by Cranmer. Next year he in like manner revised the corrections which the king proposed to make in the so-called ‘ Bishops' Book,’ properly entitled ‘The Institution of a Christian Man.’ A little before this, in pursuance of a resolution of convocation in 1534, he had taken steps as metropolitan towards the production of an authorised English bible, with the concurrence of his suffragans, all of whom lent their aid in the project except Stokesley, bishop of London. The work, however, was forestalled by the first edition of Coverdale's translation, already printed abroad in 1535, and dedicated to the king; and ultimately it was superseded in favour of Matthew's bible, a patchwork of Tyndale's and Coverdale's versions published in the summer of 1537, and dedicated, like that of Coverdale, to Henry VIII. On 4 Aug. Cranmer sent a copy of this version to Cromwell to be exhibited to the king, requesting that the sale might be authorised until the bishops could produce a better version, which he thought would not be till a day after doomsday. The work was accordingly licensed, and the archbishop informed Cromwell that he could not have pleased him more by a gift of a thousand pounds.
About this time, pursuant to an act passed in 1534, a number of suffragan bishops were constituted in different parts of England, of whom three were consecrated by the archbishop himself at Lambeth, and three others by his commission. The need for these may have been increased to some extent by the suppression of the smaller monasteries in 1536, as before that time the prior of Dover seems to have acted as a suffragan of Canterbury. But of all the great movements affecting the church Cranmer had least to do with the suppression of the monasteries. In October 1537 Cranmer stood godfather to the infant prince Edward, afterwards Edward VI. In the beginning of May 1538 he examined at Lambeth Friar Forest, who was shortly after burned in Smithfield for heresy and for denying the king's supremacy. In the summer he commissioned Dr. Curwen to visit the diocese of Hereford, the see being then vacant by the death of Dr. Foxe. At this time he had disputes with his own cathedral convent of Christ Church, and a troublesome correspondence with a Kentish justice as to the interpretation of the king's injunctions. He suggested to Cromwell that the monastic visitors should examine the relics of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and particularly the liquid exhibited as the blood of the martyr, which he suspected to be ‘made of some red ochre or such like matter.’ The great feast of St. Thomas had already been abolished two years before with other superfluous holidays by royal proclamation, and the archbishop had given great offence by eating flesh in his own parlour on St. Thomas's eve in defiance of ancient usage. Commissioners were sent down to Canterbury to destroy the shrine and bear away its costly treasures of gold and jewels.
In August of the same year the archbishop was much interested in a mission of German divines who came to England to negotiate terms of union between the German protestants and the church of England. He was named on the king's side, and doubtless presided at their conferences with the English bishops, whom he accused in a letter to Cromwell of purposely seeking to make their embassy fruitless. In October a commission was issued to him and some other divines to proceed against Anabaptists, some of whom were presently brought to Smithfield and burnt. In November John Lambert, otherwise called Nicholson, was brought before him for heresy touching the sacrament, but made his appeal to the king, who hearing the case in person caused Cranmer to reply to the arguments of the accused. The archbishop did so, but not apparently to the satisfaction of Bishop Gardiner, who was also present, and who with some other bishops joined in the disputation. Ultimately, the unhappy man was condemned to the flames.
In 1539 was passed by parliament ‘An Act for Abolishing Diversity of Opinions,’ as it was strangely entitled, more commonly known as the Act of the Six Articles. A strong reaction was setting in against innovation in doctrine; and six weighty points of theology were referred by the House of Lords to a committee of bishops presided over by Cromwell as the king's vicegerent. Cranmer used every effort on the side of freedom, partly, no doubt, from interested motives, as one of the articles touched the marriage of the clergy. But his efforts were fruitless. The king himself entered the house, and his influence immediately silenced the advocates of the new learning. The doctrine of the church was then defined, and penalties of extraordinary severity were enacted to enforce it. A cruel persecution was threatened; Latimer and Shaxton resigned their bishoprics, and not only lay heretics but the married clergy stood in awe of the new law. Cranmer himself was obliged to dismiss the wife whom since his promotion he had been obliged to keep in seclusion. It was said by contemporaries that he carried her about in a chest perforated with air-holes to let her breathe; and that on one occasion, she and the chest being removed by an unconscious porter, and deposited wrong side up, she was compelled to disclose her situation by a scream.
In December 1539 the archbishop met Anne of Cleves on her progress from the seacoast and conducted her into Canterbury. On 6 Jan. 1540 he married her to the king, and six months later he became, by virtue of his position, the chief instrument of her divorce, which was accomplished by a sentence of convocation. About the same time he interceded as far as he could to save Cromwell from the block, or rather he wrote apologetically, as in the case of Anne Boleyn. The note of subservience was never absent from anything Cranmer ventured to write, though he doubtless heartily desired to mitigate the king's cruelty. To the bill of attainder against Cromwell he offered no opposition. Next year he was selected by the council as the fittest to convey to the king the information of the infidelity of his fifth wife, Catherine Howard [q. v.] . Afterwards by the king's command he visited her in the Tower, and when he found her overwhelmed with grief and terror gave her a delusive hope of mercy, which he had been instructed to hold out to her.
In March 1541 his cathedral of Canterbury underwent a great change, the old monastic foundation being replaced by a dean and chapter. It was then proposed by some of the commissioners to change the grammar school and restrict its privileges to the sons of gentlemen, a scheme which Cranmer opposed with a vigour and eloquence altogether admirable. Before this, in 1540, ‘the Great Bible’ was ordered to be set up in parish churches, all unauthorised translations having been already forbidden by a proclamation issued in the preceding November. This edition came to be called by Cranmer's name, partly from the avowed favour with which he regarded it, and partly from a preface which he supplied to it; but in 1542 it was greatly objected to in convocation, especially by Bishop Gardiner, who produced a long list of venerable words used in the Vulgate, for which he thought the English substitutes inadequate and commonplace. Cranmer on this proposed to refer the revision of the translation to the universities, in which he was sure of the king's support; and thereupon all further opposition was withdrawn. The archbishop also presided over the commission of 1540 on the doctrines and ceremonies of the church, one fruit of whose labours appeared three years later in a book published by authority entitled ‘The Necessary Doctrine and Erudition of a Christian Man.’
His theology at this time, though not so decidedly protestant as it afterwards became, was more latitudinarian than that of others. He had for some years a commissary in Calais who, though indeed he was obliged to dismiss him on that account, certainly represented his own views in favouring the party opposed to transubstantiation. He was a willing enough agent in carrying out the king's injunctions for the removal of shrines and relics; and he himself was held largely responsible for the abrogation of cherished customs. Three different complaints or conspiracies against him are recorded, in which it was hoped by the opposite party to procure his downfall; but the king was so well aware of his value that they completely failed. ‘Ha, my chaplain,’ said Henry on one of these occasions, receiving the archbishop into his barge, ‘I have news for you. I know now who is the greatest heretic in Kent.’ And he pulled out of his sleeve a paper containing a set of articles against the archbishop, signed by a number of his own clergy and prebendaries of his cathedral, and by several justices of the shire. Cranmer desired that the charges might be investigated, and the king said he would have them inquired into by the archbishop himself and such other commissioners as he would name, which was done accordingly, much to the confusion of those who had drawn up the indictment.
In a second case a courtier named Gostwick is said to have been set on by others, but the king on hearing of it ordered the ‘varlet,’ as he called him, to beg the archbishop's pardon. A third instance is familiar in some of its details to every reader of Shakespeare. The council had obtained leave of the king to examine Cranmer and commit him to the Tower, urging that so long as he was at liberty witnesses would fear to speak the truth. The king unwillingly complied with their request, so far as words went, but to defeat their purpose sent for the archbishop late at night and gave him a ring which, if they insisted on his committal next day, he might show the council in token that the king would have the matter heard before himself. Next morning he was summoned before the council, but was kept waiting some time outside the council-chamber door. His secretary Morice called Dr. Butts to witness the fact, and Butts informed the king. ‘What!’ exclaimed Henry, ‘standeth he without the council-chamber door? It is well. I shall talk with them by-and-by.’ When Cranmer exhibited the ring, and said he appealed to the king, the lords, ‘as the manner was, went all unto the king's person both with his token and the cause,’ and received a severe rebuke for their treatment of him. ‘I would you should well understand,’ Henry added, ‘that I account my lord of Canterbury as faithful a man towards me as ever was prelate in this realm, and one to whom I am many ways beholden.’ After that day no man durst say a word against him so long as Henry lived.
These incidents we know from the relation of Cranmer's own secretary and apologist, Ralph Morice. It was Henry's policy always to pay ostensibly the highest deference to the church while compelling the church to yield to his own inclinations. And when Morice goes on to vindicate his master from a censure afterwards passed upon him that he had given away so many farms and offices during his tenure of the archbishopric that there was little left for his successors, he does so by showing that if Cranmer had not been very conciliatory to his prince the see would have been stripped absolutely bare. Cranmer only yielded to the pressure put upon him by the king and his grasping courtiers; yet he refused long leases, and limited them to twenty-one years, until he found that this only exposed him to still more pressure for reversions, which were shamelessly sold again soon after they were obtained. Cranmer also made some exchanges of land with the crown to the detriment of his see, in palliation of which his secretary truly says: ‘Men ought to consider with whom he had to do, specially with such a prince as would not be bridled, nor be againstsaid in any of his requests.’
Henry showed his regard for Cranmer by making him alter his ancestral arms, substituting for three cranes three pelicans, to indicate ‘that he ought to be ready to shed his blood for his young ones brought up in the faith of Christ.’ But there was no great likelihood of his dying a martyr so long as such a patron lived. Even on high questions of theology he once wrote his opinion with the following note attached: ‘This is mine opinion and sentence at this present, which, nevertheless, I do not temerariously define, but refer the judgment thereof wholly unto your majesty’ (JENKYNS, ii. 103). In 1542, when the Scotch prisoners taken at the Solway Moss were sent to London, the Earl of Cassillis was committed to the care of the archbishop, and it has been thought that his conversations with Cranmer were not without fruit in the subsequent history of the Scottish Reformation. In September 1543 the archbishop held a visitation of his diocese in which many of the presentments show clearly the little progress that had yet been made in the war against superstitions. On 18 Dec. following his palace at Canterbury was accidentally burnt, and his brother-in-law and some other persons perished in the flames. In June 1544 a royal mandate was issued for the general use of prayers in English, and an English litany was published by authority immediately before the king's expedition to Boulogne. A little later in the year Cranmer, by the king's command, translated from the Latin ‘certain processions to be used on festival days,’ to be set to music (making, however, pretty considerable alterations on the originals), which he submitted to the king's correction. Before the end of the year he also urged upon the king the long-felt necessity for a revision of the ecclesiastical laws in accordance with previous legislation; and next year he was commissioned to take steps to that effect.
Henry VIII died on 28 Jan. 1547. He was attended by Cranmer in his last moments, and the archbishop was named in his will as one of the council to govern during the minority of Edward VI. He was, of course, the first in precedence, but it is not easy to see that in affairs of state he possessed more influence than he had done during Henry's life; and even in matters ecclesiastical he appears still, to a large extent, to have acted under pressure from others. He crowned the young boy king on 20 Feb., but even before that date he took out a new commission to discharge his archiepiscopal functions, acknowledging that all jurisdiction, ecclesiastical and secular, alike emanated from the sovereign. At the coronation he delivered an address to the new king on the nature of his coronation oath, carefully explaining that it was not to be taken in the sense the pope had attached to it, which made the see of Rome the arbiter of his right to rule. But instead of carrying the Reformation further he seems to have aimed at a more conservative policy than during the preceding reign. For he not only suspended, at the death of Henry VIII, a scheme of ritualistic changes which he and others had been preparing for the king's approval, but when urged to new measures of reform he would reply that it was better to undertake such measures in Henry's days than now, when the king was in his nonage.
It is not surprising, therefore, that he celebrated mass for the repose of Henry's soul according to his will, or even that he did the same office not long afterwards for that of Francis I of France. He also strongly opposed in parliament the act for the suppression of colleges and chantries. But changes soon began to be introduced with his approbation, and, partly at least, at his suggestion, which produced a very considerable revolution. A general visitation of the kingdom was set on foot, in which the visitors were instructed to sell everywhere for use in the churches a new book of homilies and a translation of Erasmus's ‘Paraphrase of the New Testament.’ Both these books were strongly denounced by the opposite party, especially by Gardiner. In the convocation of 1547 the archbishop obtained a vote in favour of the marriage of the clergy, and though a measure to legalise it was deferred for a time, it was successfully carried through parliament next year; after which his wife returned to him from Germany. Parliament also gave effect to a unanimous decision of convocation in favour of communion in both kinds, a change which necessitated the issue of a royal commission in January 1548 to revise the offices of the church. This commission consisted of six bishops and six other divines, presided over by Cranmer; it held its sittings in Windsor Castle, and produced a new communion book early in March, and ultimately, in November following, the first English prayer-book.
Early in 1548 an order in council abolished the carrying of candles on Candlemas day, ashes on Ash Wednesday, palms on Palm Sunday, and various other ceremonies. In the course of the same year Cranmer held a visitation of his diocese, inquiring particularly whether the destruction of images and other relics of superstition had been fully carried out. Yet it was in this year he published his so-called catechism, entitled ‘A Short Instruction into Christian Religion,’ which was a translation from the German of a Lutheran treatise too high in some of its doctrines to satisfy ardent reformers. In 1549 various heretics of extremely opposite views were convented before him at Lambeth, some for denying the Trinity, others for denying the human nature of Christ. Most of them recanted and did penance; but a woman named Joan Bocher [q. v.] , or Joan of Kent, who belonged to the second category, stood to her opinion and was burned, though in the interval after her condemnation both Cranmer and his former chaplain, Bishop Ridley, reasoned with her, making earnest efforts to convert her. Another martyr, a Dutch Arian, was brought before him two years later, and in like manner delivered to the flames.
His activity against heretics in 1549 was occasioned by the issue of a new commission, of which he was the head. The first Act of Uniformity was passed in the beginning of the same year, and the new English prayer-book came into use on Whitsunday. But the change, unpopular in most places, produced a serious insurrection in Devonshire and Cornwall. The rebels declared the causes of their rising in a set of fifteen articles, demanding the restoration of images, of the mass in Latin, and, generally speaking, of the old order in the church. To these articles Cranmer drew up an elaborate answer, reproaching the remonstrants for the insolence of their tone, and convicting them by his superior learning of specious inconsistencies. He also preached twice at St. Paul's on the sinfulness of the insurrection. After a time it was suppressed. Meanwhile the protector, Somerset, was tottering to his fall, and it is melancholy to relate that he was betrayed at the last by Cranmer, who had also been instrumental in his brother's (Lord Seymour) execution in the earlier part of the year; for though an ecclesiastic he had signed the death-warrant of that unhappy nobleman, a gross violation of the canon law, of which the best that can be said is that it was doubtless due, not to political hatred, but to simple weakness. Somerset, however, was for the present only removed from the protectorate and restored to liberty. The same timidity of Cranmer's which made him too readily become an instrument of tyranny gave rise to the popular saying, preserved in Shakespeare:—‘Do my lord of Canterbury a shrewd turn, and he is your friend for ever.’ He was always anxious to conciliate those who liked him least. Even in the exercise of his authority as archbishop his lenity towards opponents was such as sometimes to provoke contempt. A quondam abbot of Tower Hill, who had become vicar of Stepney, being a strong opponent of the Reformation, was brought before him charged with causing the bells to be rung and choristers to sing in the choir, while licensed preachers whom he did not favour were addressing the people in his church. Cranmer contented himself with administering a rebuke, telling the disappointed prosecutor that there was no law to punish him by.
In truth the Reformation was developing itself in a way that must have filled him with anxiety. The reforming and the conservative or romanising party had not been over-tolerant of each other in the reign of Henry VIII; but now they could hardly be kept within one fold. The latter, indeed, no less than the former, had abjured the pope's jurisdiction and admitted the royal supremacy; but they were slow to recognise acts done by a faction during the king's minority as constitutional either in church or state. Their scruples were, however, overborne, and Cranmer's authority was used to silence their protests. He was head of the commission which examined and deprived Bishop Bonner in 1549, and of that which did the like to Bishop Gardiner in 1550–1; but Bishops Heath and Day were deprived in 1551 without his intervention, and Bishop Tunstall in 1552, by a commission consisting purely of laymen, after Cranmer had vigorously opposed a bill for his deprivation in parliament.
Cranmer, however, invited a number of illustrious foreign protestants to settle in England and give their advice to the king's council, among whom were Peter Martyr, Ochino, Bucer, Alasco the Pole, and a number of others. He sought also to promote a union of reformed churches with a common standard of doctrine, and made overtures particularly to the divines of Zurich and to Melanchthon in Germany. His efforts in this were fruitless. He was led, however, to write a book upon the sacrament, distinctly repudiating the doctrines of transubstantiation and the real presence, to which Gardiner, though imprisoned in the Tower, found means to write an answer and get it published in France, and Cranmer was driven to defend himself by a more elaborate treatise, in reply alike to Gardiner and to Dr. Richard Smith, who had been imprisoned after a scholastic disputation at Oxford with Peter Martyr on the same subject, and had afterwards escaped abroad. Further, owing to the criticisms of foreign protestants, both in England and elsewhere, on the new prayer-book, Cranmer set about revising it along with Goodrich, bishop of Ely, and some others; and, having been appointed the head of a parliamentary commission for the revision of the canon law, he drew up an elaborate scheme for that purpose, in which all the old machinery of the ecclesiastical courts was to be placed at the command of reformers in point of doctrine.
This scheme, however, was never authorised. The council of Edward were bent on carrying out the reformation in their own way by acts of parliament, and they had met with one serious difficulty already. The Princess Mary had persistently refused to adopt the new liturgy, and her brother desired the advice of Cranmer and Bishops Ridley and Ponet whether he ought to tolerate her disobedience. Their answer was that ‘to give license to sin was sin, but to suffer and wink at it for a time might be borne.’ Yet the emperor's ambassador was urgent that she should have a license by letters patent to have mass in her own chapel, and when it was refused the council found it necessary to redouble their precautions against a scheme which was certainly entertained for carrying her abroad. Elsewhere, however, no resistance was to be expected. In 1552 the revised prayer-book was authorised by a new Act of Uniformity, and to be present at any other service was visited with six months' imprisonment, even for the first offence. An interval of more than six months, however, was allowed before it came into operation, during which period such strong objections were raised by extreme protestants to the practice of kneeling at communion that the printing of the work, though already authorised by parliament, was suspended until the question was referred to Cranmer, and at length the celebrated ‘black rubric’ was inserted by authority of the council.
The execution of the Duke of Somerset in January 1552 is believed to have affected Cranmer deeply. He could not but feel that his rival Northumberland was a far more dangerous man. A commission was issued in April to seize to the king's use throughout the kingdom all such remaining church plate as the new ritual had made superfluous, and to inquire how far it had been embezzled. Cranmer was one of the commissioners in Kent, but he was slow to act on his commission, and even seems to have made some kind of protest against it, which was probably the reason why, as Cecil at this time informed him, he and his order were accused of being both covetous and inhospitable. It was a charge that had been insinuated against himself by Sir Thomas Seymour in the days of Henry VIII, and retracted by the accuser himself on the plainest evidence; and Cranmer had no difficulty in answering it now. Another commission came to him about the same time to inquire as to a new sect that had sprung up in his diocese named the Davidians, or Family of Love. This inquiry he seems to have conducted with characteristic moderation. His health at this time was less robust than usual, for he had two illnesses in the summer of 1552.
Towards the close of the year the forty-two articles of religion (afterwards reduced to the well-known thirty-nine), a compendium which he had prepared and submitted to the council, received some final corrections from his pen, and he requested that the bishops might be empowered to cause the clergy generally to subscribe them. It appears, however, that he had already framed these articles some years before, and had required by his own authority as archbishop the subscriptions of all the preachers whom he licensed. Nor did they ever, as Cranmer himself confessed, receive the sanction of convocation, though published in 1553 by the king's command, with a statement to that effect on the very title-page to which the archbishop objected as untrue. The falsehood, it seems, was justified by the council because the book ‘was set forth in the time of the convocation,’ a pretext which, lame as it was, was as little true as the statement it was advanced to justify.
When Edward was dying in 1553 Cranmer was, much against his will, dragged into Northumberland's audacious plot touching the succession. The signature of every one of the council was required to the king's will, and Cranmer at length reluctantly added his—the last in time although it stood first in place There can be no doubt as to the truth of his statement afterwards made to Queen Mary in extenuation of what he had done. He had desired to have spoken with the king alone to have made him alter his purpose, but he was not permitted. Then the king himself asked him to set his hand to the will, saying he hoped he would not be more refractory than the rest of the council. The judges, he was told, had advised the king that he had power to will away the crown, and indeed only one of them had refused to sign the document. So Cranmer too complied, and as he informed Queen Mary, having been thus induced to sign, he did it ‘unfeignedly and without dissimulation.’
He was thus committed to the cause of Lady Jane Grey, which he no doubt upheld ‘without dissimulation’ as long as it was tenable. But on 19 July her nine days' reign was over, and on the 20th Cranmer signed along with the rest of the council the order to Northumberland to disband his forces. On 7 Aug. he officiated at a communion service instead of a mass at the interment of Edward VI at Westminster. But the authority of the new prayer-book and of much else that had been done in the preceding reign was now called in question. A commission was issued to inquire into the validity of Cranmer's own acts in depriving certain bishops and causing others to be appointed in their places, and he was ordered to appear in consistory at St. Paul's and bring with him an inventory of his goods. This he accordingly did on 27 Aug. About the same time Dr. Thornden, suffragan bishop of Dover, ventured without his leave as archbishop to restore the mass in Canterbury Cathedral, and he straightway drew up a declaration that it was not done by his authority. In this manifesto he also contradicted a rumour that he was willing to say mass before the queen, and declared his readiness not only to defend the communion book of Edward VI as agreeable to Christ's institution, but to show that the mass contained ‘many horrible blasphemies.’ It was a strongly worded document, which he might probably have toned down, for he himself said that he would have enlarged it and got it set on church doors with his archiepiscopal seal attached; but having allowed his friend Bishop Scory to take a copy, the latter read it publicly in Cheapside on 5 Sept. The consequence was that he was called before the council on the 8th for disseminating seditious bills, and was, thereupon committed to the Tower.
On 13 Nov. he was taken to the Guildhall and put on his trial for treason, along with Lord Guildford Dudley. He was charged with having caused Lady Jane Grey to be proclaimed on 10 July and with having armed about twenty of his dependents in her cause, whom he sent to Cambridge in aid of Northumberland on the 16th and 17th. He pleaded not guilty, but afterwards withdrew the plea and confessed the indictment. The usual sentence for treason was pronounced upon him, and execution was ordered to be at Tyburn. His life was, however, spared by the clemency of the queen; but he was included in the act of attainder passed in parliament against the Earl of Northumberland (Statute 1 Mary, c. 19), and, his dignity being forfeited, he was afterwards spoken of as ‘the late Archbishop of Canterbury.’
He remained in the Tower till 8 March following (1554), when the lieutenant received a warrant ‘to deliver to Sir John Williams the bodies of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Ridley, and Mr. Latimer, to be by him conveyed to Oxford.’ There they were to be called upon to justify their heresies, if they could, in a theological disputation. The convocation which had met at St. Paul's, under Bishop Bonner's presidency, had been discussing the subject of the English prayer-book and the articles, both of which they declared to be heretical. The root of the evil was found in wrong opinions as to the mass, and the true doctrine of the Romanists was set forth in three articles affirmed by a large majority in the lower house with only five or six dissentients. But one of these, Philpot, archdeacon of Worcester, demanded a scholastic disputation upon the subject, in which Cranmer and others should be allowed to take part. This could not be reasonably refused; and Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer were taken from their prison in the Tower and lodged in Bocardo, the common gaol at Oxford, till the disputation commenced. On 14 April they were called before a great assembly of divines, from Cambridge as well as from Oxford, which met in St. Mary's Church, presided over by Dr. Weston, prolocutor of the convocation. The three articles agreed on in convocation were proposed to them, and they refused to subscribe. Monday following, the 16th, was appointed to Cranmer to declare his reasons, Tuesday the 17th to Ridley, and Wednesday the 18th to Latimer. Of course there could be little doubt of the result. Dr. Chedsey was Cranmer's chief opponent, and after the discussion had lasted from eight in the morning till nearly two in the afternoon there was a cry of ‘Vicit veritas!’ The arguments were then handed in to the registrar, the doctors went to dinner, and Cranmer was conveyed back by the mayor to Bocardo. After his two fellow-prisoners had been heard and answered in the same style, and a formal condemnation of all three had been pronounced on the Friday, he wrote on the 23rd a brief account of the discussion to the council, complaining of the unfairness with which it had been conducted, and requesting them to obtain for him the queen's pardon.
It is clear that he had fought his argumentative battle with great calmness, moderation, and ability. Nor were his opponents, perhaps, altogether satisfied with the result; for though they had declared him vanquished upon the Monday, they allowed him to discuss the same question again on the Thursday following with John Harpsfield, who was to dispute for his degree of D.D.; and at the close of that day's controversy not only did Dr. Weston commend his gentleness and modesty in argument, but all the doctors present took off their caps in compliment to him. He and his two fellow-captives were, however, kept in prison for nearly a year and a half longer, during which time Mary married Philip of Spain, Pole arrived as legate from Rome, and a beginning was already made of those cruel martyrdoms which have cast so deep a stain on Mary's government. The council seem to have been unable for a long time to determine on further proceedings against Cranmer and his two friends, till at length it was determined to give them a formal trial for heresy. As yet they had only been condemned in a scholastic disputation, but now Pole as legate issued a commission to examine and absolve, or degrade and deliver to the secular arm, the two prisoners, Ridley and Latimer. As to Cranmer, who had filled the office of primate, a different course was adopted. He first received on 7 Sept. 1555 a citation to appear at Rome within eighty days in answer to such matters as should be objected to him by the king and queen. This, however, was mere matter of form, and it was notified to him that, at the king and queen's request, the pope had issued a commission for his trial to Cardinal Dupuy (or de Puteo), who had delegated his functions to Brookes, bishop of Gloucester.
Bishop Brookes accordingly opened his commission in St. Mary's Church on 12 Sept. Cranmer refused to recognise his authority, saying he had once sworn never again to consent to papal jurisdiction; and he made a rather lame answer when reminded that he had also sworn obedience to the church of Rome, taking refuge in the protest that he made before doing so, and the advice of learned men whom he had consulted. Sixteen articles touching his past career were then objected to him, most of which he admitted to be true in fact, though he took exception to the colouring. Eight witnesses who had in past times favoured the Reformation were brought in to confirm the charges, and when asked what he had to say to their testimony, he said he objected to every one of them as perjured, inasmuch as they had, like himself, abjured the pope whom they now defended. No judgment was delivered, but a report of the proceedings was forwarded to Rome, while Cranmer, besides making some complaints to the queen's proctor, wrote to the queen herself, expressing his regret that his own natural sovereigns had cited him before a foreign tribunal. He had been sworn, he said, in Henry VIII's days, never to admit the pope's jurisdiction in England, and he could not without perjury have acknowledged the bishop of Gloucester as his judge. He urged the queen to consider that papal laws were incompatible with the laws of the realm, and adduced arguments against the doctrine and practice of the church of Rome on the subject of the eucharist. An answer to this letter was written by Cardinal Pole by the queen's command.
Cranmer remained in prison while his friends, Ridley and Latimer, were conveyed outside to their place of martyrdom on 16 Oct. He witnessed their execution from a tower on the top of his prison, and complained after to his gaoler of the cruelty of Ridley's treatment, whose sufferings were protracted by a piece of mismanagement. He was allowed to survive them by five months, during which time earnest efforts were made by the Spanish friar Soto, and others, for his conversion. Meanwhile, the eighty days allowed for his appearance at Rome having expired, the case was heard in consistory, where the report of the proceedings in England was examined, and counsel on both sides were heard, though the accused had instructed no one to defend him. Judgment was pronounced against him, and on 11 Dec. the pope appointed, or, as it is called, ‘provided,’ Cardinal Pole to the archbishopric of Canterbury. On the 14th he addressed a brief executorial to the king and queen, notifying that he had condemned Cranmer for heresy, and deprived him of his archbishopric. Much has been said of an apparent injustice in the process, because this brief in the preamble declares the late archbishop contumacious for non-appearance at Rome when he was a prisoner at Oxford; and to heighten the impression, Foxe tells us that he expressed his willingness to go and defend himself at Rome if the queen would let him. But the statement is scarcely consistent with the position he had already taken up in declining papal jurisdiction altogether. In fact, the preamble of the brief accuses him of contumacy first towards the papal sub-delegate, Bishop Brookes, secondly towards the delegate, Cardinal Dupuy, and lastly towards the pope himself, for not appearing in consistory before the final decision. Cranmer had taken up his position advisedly not to recognise papal authority at all, and if he had since relented he might yet have found means to engage a proctor at Rome, even if the queen did not think fit to let him go thither in person, as she probably would have done if he had expressed any willingness to submit to the Roman pontiff.
A papal commission next came to Bonner, bishop of London, and Thirlby, bishop of Ely, for his degradation. It was a painful duty to the latter, to whom Cranmer had been an early friend and patron. The two, however, sat together for the purpose in Christ Church on 14 Feb. 1556, when Cranmer was brought before them. At the recitation of their commission, in which it was declared that he had had an impartial trial at Rome, he exclaimed with rather unbecoming vehemence, if Foxe has reported him truly, ‘O Lord, what lies be these, that I, being continually in prison, and never could be suffered to have counsel or advocate at home, should produce witness and appoint my counsel at Rome! God must needs punish this open and shameless lying.’ After the commission was read he was taken outside the church, where the process of his degradation was to be performed. But first he was carefully clothed in the special vestments of a sub-deacon, a deacon, a priest, a bishop, and an archbishop, one on the top of the other, but all of canvas, with a mitre and pall of the same material, and a crosier was put in his hand. Bonner then declared the causes of his degradation, the condemned man sometimes interrupting him with vain retorts and explanations. The crosier was then taken out of his hands by force, for he refused to relinquish it, and he drew from his sleeve a lengthy document and called on the bystanders to witness that he appealed from the pope to the next general council. ‘My lord,’ said Thirlby, ‘our commission is to proceed against you, omni appellatione remotâ, and therefore we cannot admit it.’ Cranmer replied that this was unjust, as the cause was really between him and the pope; and Thirlby received it with the remark, ‘Well, if it may be admitted it shall.’
Thirlby was moved to tears, and, addressing Cranmer, offered to be a suitor for his pardon. Cranmer desired him to be of good cheer, and the work proceeded. The late archbishop was stripped successively of the vestments of an archbishop, bishop, priest, deacon, and sub-deacon, with appropriate ceremonies and words, after which he was further degraded from the minor orders of acolyte, exorcist, reader, and doorkeeper. Lastly a barber cut his hair close about his head, and Bishop Bonner scraped the tips of his fingers where he had been anointed. His gown was then taken off, and that of a poor yeoman bedel was put upon him in its place, with a townsman's cap on his head, in which guise he was delivered over to the secular power, and conveyed again to prison.
As a last protest against these proceedings, while they were divesting him of his pall, he had said to the officiating bishops, ‘Which of you hath a pall to take away my pall?’ The answer, however, was plain that, although as bishops they were his inferiors, they were acting by the pope's authority; and Cranmer seems to have made no further opposition. He now resigned himself to his altered position. He had been for some time strongly urged to recant by divines who conversed with him in prison, especially by the Spanish friar, John de Villa Garcia, with whom he had held long arguments on the primacy of St. Peter, the authority of general councils, and so forth; and apparently even before his degradation he had made two submissions. First he had signed a declaration that, as the king and queen had admitted the pope's authority within the realm, he was content to submit to their laws. This, however, not being considered satisfactory, he, a few days later, made a second submission, in which he put the church and the pope before the king and queen. After his degradation he signed a third document, promising entire obedience to the king's and queen's laws, both as to the pope's supremacy and other matters, and referring the book which he had written on the sacrament to the judgment of the next general council. But this being objected to, he signed yet another profession distinctly dated 16 Feb., declaring unreservedly his belief in the teaching of the catholic church on the sacraments as in other things. There seems to be no foundation for the statement that he was lured to any of these submissions by a promise of pardon. Shortly after the fourth was made a writ was issued for his execution on 24 Feb., and it was announced to him that he should die upon 7 March. He was only urged for the sake of his soul to make as ample a profession as possible, and after consulting his spiritual advisers he signed a fifth document, which was attested by their signatures as well as his own, repudiating the doctrines of Luther and Zuinglius, acknowledging purgatory, and urging all heretics to return to the unity of the church. He at the same time wrote to Cardinal Pole begging him to procure for him a few days' respite from execution that he might give the world a yet more convincing proof of his repentance. This respite seems to have been allowed, and on 18 March he made a sixth and final submission, full of self-reproach for his past career, in which he compared himself to the penitent thief crucified along with our Lord.
Protestants and Roman catholics alike have censured these successive recantations as acts of insincerity prompted by the hope that they would buy his pardon. They may, however, have proceeded from real perplexity of mind. Royal supremacy over the church had been the fundamental doctrine with Cranmer hitherto, but if royalty chose again to acknowledge the pope's authority, what became of the very basis of the Reformation? Cranmer possibly might have reconciled himself to the new state of things as easily as Thirlby had he not written against transubstantiation, a doctrine which he clearly disbelieved even in the days of Henry VIII, when it was still reputed orthodox. It was on this subject that he was most persistently pressed to recant, and it was on this subject that, while submitting to the pope in other things, he would fain have appealed to a general council. The appeal, however, was hopeless, considering that the matter had been already settled at Trent five years before, and it was clear that with papal authority he must admit papal doctrine. He affected to be convinced by arguments that he could not very well answer (it is not easy to answer arguments in prison, with fire and faggots in the background), and he seemed a hopeful penitent. Nor would it have been impossible, perhaps, to extend to such a penitent the royal pardon, but that the flagrant character of his offences seemed to the council a reason for proceeding to the utmost extremity. For it was certainly owing to the abuse of his archiepiscopal functions that the queen had been actually declared a bastard, and all but cut off from the succession.
On 20 March, two days after his last submission, he was visited in prison by Dr. Cole, the provost of Eton, who was anxious to know if he still remained firm in the faith he had so lately professed. Next day he was to die. In the morning Friar John de Villa Garcia called upon him in prison, and Cranmer, at his request, copied and signed yet a seventh form of recantation, of which he was to take one copy with him and read it at the stake. It was intended that, just before his execution, Dr. Cole should have preached at the stake, but as the morning was wet, the prisoner was conducted into St. Mary's Church, and the sermon delivered there. He was placed on a platform opposite the pulpit, where every one could see him. There he knelt and prayed fervently, before and after the sermon; he was seen to weep, and moved his audience to tears. He was then asked to address the people, according to the general usage, and it was expected that he would read his final recantation. In this he was to declare his belief in every article of the catholic faith, and afterwards to confess that what most troubled his conscience was the publication of books and writings against the truth of God's word, and these he was to specify as the books he had written against the sacrament of the altar since the death of Henry VIII. He turned to the people, and besought first that they would pray for him; then poured out a fervid prayer himself, confessing himself ‘a wretched caitiff and miserable sinner;’ then repeated the Lord's Prayer and declared that he believed every article of the catholic faith, just as it was expected he would say. But at this point the discourse began to vary from the programme. ‘And now I come,’ he said, ‘to the great thing which so much troubleth my conscience, more than anything that ever I did or said in my whole life, and that is the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth, which now here I renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death, and to save my life, if it might be; and that is, all such bills and papers which I have written or signed with my hand since my degradation, wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished therefor; for, may I come to the fire, it shall be first burned.’
The bystanders were astonished. Some in vain appealed to him to remember his recantation, and after answering their remonstrances he himself ran to the place of execution, so fast that few could keep up with him. The Spanish friars still plied him with exhortations, but to no purpose. He was chained to the stake, the wood was kindled, and when the fire began to burn near him, he put his right hand into the flame, crying out: ‘This hand hath offended.’ Very soon afterwards he was dead. His courage and patience in the torment filled with admiration the witnesses of his sufferings—even those who considered that he had died for a bad cause, of whom one, only known to us as ‘J. A.,’ has left an account of the scene in a letter to a friend.
Of Cranmer's personal appearance Foxe writes that he was ‘of stature mean, of complexion pure and somewhat sanguine, having no hair upon his head at the time of his death’ (was not this owing to the barber cutting it off?), ‘but a long beard, white and thick. He was of the age of sixty-five’ (Foxe should have said sixty-seven) ‘when he was burnt; and yet, being a man sore broken in studies, all his time never used any spectacles.’ Portraits of him exist at Cambridge and at Lambeth. It is curious that in his last hours we hear little of his wife or family. He left, we know, a son Thomas, and a daughter Margaret, who were restored in blood by act of parliament in 1563. He had an elder brother John, who inherited his father's estates, and a younger, Edmund, whom he had made archdeacon of Canterbury soon after his appointment as primate, but who had been deprived by Mary as a married clergyman.
His principal writings are:
- A book on Henry VIII's divorce, against marriage with a brother's widow.
- Preface to the Bible, 1540.
- ‘A Short Instruction into Christian Religion,’ commonly called his ‘Catechism,’ translated from the Latin of Justus Jonas, 1541.
- Preface to the Book of Common Prayer, 1549.
- ‘Answer to the Devonshire Rebels,’ and a sermon on Rebellion.
- ‘Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum’ (compiled about 1550, first edited 1571).
- ‘A Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament,’ 1550.
- ‘An Answer … unto a crafty and sophistical cavillation devised by Stephen Gardiner,’ i.e. to Gardiner's reply to the preceding treatise.
- ‘A Confutation of Unwritten Verities,’ in answer to a treatise of Dr. Richard Smith maintaining that there were truths necessary to be believed which were not expressed in scripture.
He is credited also by Burnet with a speech supposed to have been delivered in the House of Lords about 1534; but an examination of the original manuscript shows that it is not a speech, but a treatise addressed to some single lord, and even the authorship might perhaps be questioned (see Calendar, Henry VIII, vol. vii. No. 691).
[Nichols's Narratives of the Reformation (Camden Soc.); Foxe's Acts and Monuments; Burnet's Hist. of the Reformation; Strype's Memorials of Archbp. Cranmer (with appendix of documents); Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials iii. 392–400; Wilkins's Concilia, iii. 826–8, 857–8, 862, 868; Calendar, Henry VIII, iv., sq.; Tytler's Edward VI and Mary; works edited by Cox, Granger and Jenkyns; Grey Friars' Chronicle; Machyn's Diary; Wriothesley's Chronicle; Chronicle of Queen Jane; Archæologia, xviii. 175–7; Cranmer's Recantacyons, privately printed by Lord Houghton; Baga de Secretis in Dep.-Keeper of Public Records, IV. ii. 237–8; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabrigienses i. 145, 547; modern lives by Sargant, Le Bas, Todd, and Dean Hook (in Lives of the Archbishops).