Thomas Cranmer the Protestant reformer during the reign of King Henry VIII

Lionel Windsor (2004)

Introduction: A Protestant Reformer?

For a comfortable theoretician to assess the actions of a man caught up in the cut and thrust of national and international politics is a precarious business, as Martin Bucer warned when, in 1537, the humanist Grynaeus lamented Thomas Cranmer’s slowness to bring about reform in England.1 To understand Cranmer’s actions we must transcend stereotypical surface judgments, for he was a man living in a complex and often dangerous world, with an equally complex and dangerous king. To assess whether Cranmer was a Protestant reformer we need to carefully investigate three questions. Firstly, did Cranmer have personal Protestant theological convictions? Secondly, did Cranmer actively seek to promote these convictions by his public policy? And thirdly, did Cranmer have a measurable effect in his efforts to promote his convictions? These questions cannot be considered in isolation, but must be answered against the political backdrop of Henrician England.

The ‘Orthodoxy’ of Henry VIII

Bromiley assesses Henry as ‘fundamentally a traditionalist’.2 Yet to describe Henry as ‘orthodox’ is a gross oversimplification. Undoubtedly, his ‘instinctive’ conservatism often triumphed.3 This is most clearly demonstrated by his early anti-Lutheran Defence of the Seven Sacraments (1521), where he defends, for example, the Pope’s universal supremacy and the priestly jurisdiction in confession.4 Yet during the rest of his reign Henry rejected significant aspects of this position. Not only does he completely repudiate Papal supremacy, but he also moves away from other fundamental aspects of Catholic doctrine. A notable example is the absence of any reference to the divine institution of auricular confession to priests in the Six Articles of 1539, which severely weakens the Catholic doctrine of priestly jurisdiction regardless of one’s view of Papal authority.5

A more accurate assessment is that Henry allowed his political strategy to take precedence over all other doctrines. As Null observes, ‘For Henry, obedience was the chief theological virtue [. . .]’; a prerequisite for salvation.6 His courtly strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ meant that his theological strategy, as Cranmer once observed to Capito, was to play two competing groups off one another and then pronounce his own judgment.7 This ‘judgment’ was largely determined by political factors. Henry desired that no one group gained too much power: in July 1540 he simultaneously executed three alleged Papalists and three Lutherans.8 Furthermore, Henry was influenced by foreign and domestic issues: for example, the conservative Act of Six Articles coincided with Henry’s need to placate the newly allied Catholic forces of France and Spain.9 This assessment of England’s monarch is important for our understanding of Cranmer’s actions, since working for a king like Henry was a complex and often bewildering game.

Cranmer’s Personal Religious Convictions

To assess Cranmer’s personal convictions is not a straightforward task. His surviving correspondence is almost entirely official rather than personal.10 Furthermore, the strong government controls and inhibitions which applied to these documents must be taken into consideration.11 Hence historians have come to differing conclusions about Cranmer’s beliefs, particularly early in his career. The most vexing question concerns Cranmer’s theological ‘touchstone’: which doctrine, if any, exercised the central and controlling influence over all of Cranmer’s beliefs and actions?

For some, Cranmer’s central belief was the authority of Scripture according to its ancient interpretation, but it took a long time for this cautious scholar to come to any firm conclusions on the basis of his Scriptural exegesis. Having been influenced by Erasmian humanism at his early years at Cambridge, Cranmer gave Scripture normative priority for all of his adult life.12 Bromiley maintains that this committed Cranmer to caution in deciding matters of doctrine, to the extent that Bromiley is unsure of Cranmer’s convictions even in 1536.13 Brownell suggests that this caution allowed Cranmer great leeway in his political compromises.14 Yet it is difficult to believe that a man so passionately committed to the Scriptural basis for Henry’s annulment,15 who also broke his vow of celibacy by marrying Osiander’s niece as early as 1531,16 would be so unsure of his commitment to more weighty matters.

Others posit the Royal Supremacy as the controlling element of Cranmer’s belief. Certainly, Cranmer had a very high (‘Erastian’) view of the status of the King in directing his subjects’ affairs, both spiritual and temporal. In 1540, Cranmer replies to a doctrinal commission,

‘All Christian princes have committed unto them immediately of God the whole cure of their subjects, as well concerning the administration of God’s word for the cure of souls, as concerning the ministration of things political and civil governance’.17

Furthermore, at Edward’s coronation in 1547, Cranmer calls him the New ‘Josiah’ and ‘Christ’s vicar’, using the language of both Old Testament theocracy and the claims of the Roman Pontiff.18 This has led some to label Cranmer as an ‘extremist’ in his Erastianism: God’s temporal and spiritual law does not stand outside the prince but is determined through the prince.19 Cranmer effectively places the King in the power vacuum left by the Pope.20 So, according to Ridley, his obedience to the Prince overrode all his other beliefs.21

A number of things can be said in reply. Firstly, we must understand Cranmer’s comments in context. In the answer quoted above, princely rule is set in the context of the Spirit-led wisdom of God’s people and is portrayed merely as a more complete form of God’s guidance of the early Church.22 His rhetorical language at Edward’s coronation is an exposition the Pauline view of authority in Romans 13.23 Hence Cranmer is not replacing the Pope with the King; he is expounding a Scriptural basis for the wise governance of God’s people. Thirdly, ‘absolute obedience’ to a monarch who, as we have seen, is constantly shifting his doctrinal ground would have been an impossible cause to champion; there would be no consistency or conscience in anything Cranmer did were he to make the Royal Supremacy his core belief. Even Rafferty, who believes that Royal Supremacy is Cranmer’s controlling doctrine, has to question Cranmer’s consistency.24 It is better, with MacCulloch, to regard Cranmer’s view of the Royal Supremacy as God’s provision of a means to an end, rather than an altar on which all else is sacrificed.25

A means to what end? Null persuasively argues that, from the time of Cranmer’s contact with the German reformers just prior to 1533, his central and determining doctrine is sola fide: Justification by Faith Alone.26 The early and ongoing influence of the continental reformers on Cranmer, particularly Bucer and Bullinger, is meticulously documented and well-defended by MacCulloch’s biography.27 Null and Hall also defend this influence, Null with detailed exegesis of the documentation.28 Hall, however, splits hairs when he contends that Cranmer mediated Luther’s doctrine so that the fruits of justification were more prominent and the forensic element of justification less prominent.29 Cranmer, like Luther and very much in opposition to medieval scholasticism, believed that while both forensic justification and good works are important, nevertheless the former is always the basis of the latter.30

The centrality of the justification of the totally depraved sinner solely on the basis of the mercy of God through faith and not by anything intrinsic to the sinner, Null argues, has explanatory power for almost all of Cranmer’s other beliefs and actions. His personal forgiveness of enemies despite his official sternness is a simple example.31 More significantly, solifidianism led inevitably to an understanding of God’s complete sovereignty, both in personal predestination and in the course of human history. Cranmer believed that in God’s loving grace he has so directed the course of human affairs that Henry VIII is God’s elect ruler. Despite the faults of Henry (and his vice-gerent Cromwell), God’s loving plan triumphs.32 Hence the Royal Supremacy is determined, controlled and ultimately subservient to sola fide. Cranmer’s ‘strategy’ was to contend for the gospel, obey the king and trust God for the outcome. We will explore the implications of this below when we consider Cranmer’s public policy.

Like Luther, the main area in which Cranmer disagreed with the Southern Continental Reformers was his doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.33 Cranmer himself admitted that he changed from belief in ‘real presence’ to ‘spiritual presence’ in 1547 or 1548.34 It was once argued that his pre-1547 view was essentially conservative Catholic.35 However, most scholars now agree that Cranmer’s acceptance of Luther’s view on salvation also involved agreement (perhaps independently) with Luther’s view of the Eucharist; he rejected transubstantiation and the sacrificial aspect but retained the real presence throughout his Archbishopric under Henry.36 This will be important when we come to consider Cranmer’s treatment of Frith and Lambert. Sola fide was behind Cranmer’s rejection of the mass as a sacrifice; since Christ’s sacrifice was once-for-all.37

Cranmer’s Public Policy as Archbishop

We have seen that Cranmer’s personal solifidian beliefs were essentially ‘Protestant’ (or ‘evangelical’, to use MacCulloch’s less anachronistic term) throughout 1533–1549, even if his Eucharistic views were Lutheran rather than strictly ‘Reformed’. Now we come to consider Cranmer’s public policy.

General considerations

When we set the boundaries for what constitutes ‘public policy’, we must remember that Cranmer was a theologian, a scholar and an archbishop. Although his actions were inevitably political, Cranmer was not a politician, either by temperament or by appointment.38 Elliott is unfair when he characterises Cranmer’s willingness to correct Henry in private but not in public as ‘weakness’ or the ‘inability to act consistently’.39 Private correction was Cranmer’s mandate; public correction was not. Hence Cranmer’s public policy as Archbishop include all of his actions undertaken in his official capacity which affected the English public, whether or not these actions were immediately open to public view.

In 1533–34, we see Cranmer working hard to place evangelicals in positions of influence in England. For example, he removed the conservative Warham as Archdeacon of Canterbury, and moved to have Latimer and Shaxton appointed to preach before the King and Queen.40 However, from 1535 to 1539, Thomas Cromwell had effective control over the spiritual jurisdiction in England, eclipsing Cranmer’s jurisdiction and even seizing some of his lands.41 Hence, during Cromwell’s ascendancy, Cranmer’s public policy was mostly limited to his attempts to persuade Cromwell and Henry through copious correspondence,42 and to persuade convocation through debate. Between 1540 and 1547, Cromwell was no longer alive but Henry himself was more conservative-leaning and so Cranmer was even less free to act independently. It is only when Edward succeeded the throne that Cranmer was given direct responsibility to enact policy.

Reforming Public Activities

We will briefly survey some areas where Cranmer acted to reform the church in his official capacity as Archbishop.

Cranmer strenuously advocated for Lutheran doctrine in the Convocation debating the Ten Articles of 1536. 43 His influence and style is clearly present; the document is a compromise between the old and the new, yet in it, Cranmer achieved a great deal for the evangelical cause.44 The Bible and only the first four ecumenical councils (i.e. those accepted by Luther) are fundamental for all doctrine.45 Penance, while necessary for salvation, is defined almost exclusively in terms of justification by faith (realisation of sin and the recognition that we have no works of our own which can satisfy God).46 Works are ‘necessary’ only as fruit of justification, not as a prerequisite for justification.47 The final articles, concerning images, saints, etc. are not commanded by God as necessary for salvation, but rather are commanded by the king as necessary for peaceful order in his realm.48 These activities are permitted, but ultimately superfluous to Christ-centred trust and obedience.49

The Bishop’s Book of 1537 represents an even greater achievement for Cranmer in his policy of debate and persuasion. By convincing Cromwell of the political benefits inherent in achieving closer doctrinal ties with German Lutheran princes,50 and by strenuous argumentation in synod (which he ended up effectively chairing), he achieved a document ‘full of Lutheran overtones’, particularly in its solifidian redefinition of penance based on Patristic sources.51 Cranmer was pleased with the outcome, and the Bishop’s Book, while never really receiving Henry’s approval, was issued as a book of sermons (‘proto-Homilies’).52 When Henry did comment, Cranmer’s private corrections bear witness to his anti-scholastic solifidianism.53

‘For after our justification only begin we to work as the law of God requireth [. . .] they that think they may come to justification by performance of the law, by their own deeds and merits, or by any other mean than is above rehearsed [i.e. by faith alone], they go from Christ, they renounce his grace’.54

This is private correction, unimpeded by the need for public compromise; yet its intention is change in public policy, for its addressee is the King himself.

It is also important to consider Cranmer’s role in the dissemination of the English Bible. Technically, ‘it was the Vice-gerent who led the initiative, with Cranmer merely as cheerleader’.55 Yet this ‘cheerleading’ was, most likely, the key to the success of the enterprise. We have seen Cranmer’s commitment to Scriptural authority. He saw the need for the whole populace to have access to this authority and so was the relentless persuasive force behind Cromwell’s actions.56 His delight at the achievement, in 1537, bears witness to his interest in the matter.57 The Bible was such a success that the conservative Act of Six Articles (1539) did not immediately change Henry’s mind on its dissemination.58 Cranmer’s 1540 Preface to the Great Bible shows his persistent commitment to its propagation.59 At a dangerous time for evangelical belief, Cranmer does not push his doctrine directly. Rather, he urges people to read the Bible, trusting God for the outcome. His caution against overly contentious arguments is not the germ of the classic Anglican via media,60 but rather Cranmer’s attempt to forestall Henry’s wrath which might prevent the Bible being disseminated any further.61

When Henry’s policy turned in a more conservative direction with the Act of Six Articles (1539), Cranmer’s ability to influence public policy was severely curtailed.62 Nevertheless, he did what he could. His ‘hard-core opposition’63 meant that the word transubstantiation did not appear in the Six Articles, and auricular confession was weakened in its import, as we have already noted.64 In 1541–43 he won some minor victories against holy days, shrines and relics, and against plans to re-introduce medieval terminology into the English Bible.65 He kept copious notes on solifidianism in Scripture and the Church Fathers, preparing for opportunities to refute the conservative doctrine of the King’s Book.66 In 1544 he released an English translation of the Litany, using ‘more than the liberty of a translator’ in improving certain aspects of it.67 During this period, he was active, yet restrained.

Disputed Public Activities

We now turn to those of Cranmer’s activities which have come under intense scrutiny and criticism because of their perceived hypocrisy, inconsistency or cowardice.

Often Cranmer is accused of legal inconsistency. At his consecration in Westminster in 1533, his oath of loyalty to the Pope was straightaway followed by a solemn protestation that this oath would not override his loyalty to the law of God, the King, and the reform of the English Church. Rafferty points out the legal contradictions here; both he and MacCulloch accuse Cranmer of hypocrisy.68 They detect a similar inconsistency in Cranmer’s later annulment of the Boleyn marriage.69 Yet, against the backdrop of an age when the King’s momentary will was usually more pertinent than the written oaths and laws, these oaths and laws themselves being fluid, transitory and inconsistent, Cranmer’s ‘hypocrisy’ was technical only. He argued solidly and vigorously for his position so that everybody knew where he stood; and then when it was obvious that he could do no more, he obeyed his King.70 This is consistent with his belief that the purposes of the sovereign God would prevail and his job was to ‘Fear God [and] Honour the King’ (1 Peter 2:16, kjv).

There are times when Cranmer takes action as Archbishop against people with whom he has some sympathy. Two notable examples are John Frith (1533) and John Lambert (1538).71 In both cases, evangelical men were brought before Cranmer to pronounce a verdict (although the sentencing was done by others). Their crime was sacramentarianism: denying the real presence in the Eucharist. Since, as we have seen, Cranmer disagreed with this particular view, he pronounced them guilty.72 Cranmer’s sympathy to Frith is seen in a letter describing his repeated attempts to persuade him to change his beliefs, avoiding the term ‘heretic’ and giving the Continental originator of the belief his Latinized academic surname ‘Œcolampadius’, thus ‘recognizing his status as an evangelical fellow-scholar’.73 Yet he had no qualms about committing either Frith or Lambert to trial, no doubt fearing that their ‘so notably erroneous’ views would endanger the evangelical cause in England.74 In neither case is Cranmer hypocritical; in fact, in Lambert’s case, he assiduously avoided the term ‘transubstantiation’ while arguing for a real presence.75

The executions of Anne Boleyn (1536) and Thomas Cromwell (1540) were more personally difficult for Cranmer. Anne was an ally for the evangelical cause and Cranmer’s personal friend;76 Cromwell, as we have seen, was an important agent for reform and also a friend. In both cases, Cranmer did not instigate the accusation of Treason and could not have prevented their deaths.77 In both cases, shocked by learning of the accusations against them, he wrote letters to Henry defending their integrity.78 And in both cases, he escaped without being implicated in their crimes, despite his obvious personal anguish at their deaths.79 Here, his inaction rather than his action is more frequently criticised.80 Yet he is also frequently defended for his courage.81 Moreover, Cranmer is implicated in the persecutions of evangelicals following the passing of the Act of Six Articles. The political background to Henry’s reversal of policy is the threat of a conservative invasion from the newly-allied France and Spain, and the conservative backlash within England itself.82 Cranmer, in obedience to his King, voted for and enforced the Six Articles.83 He also voted for the subsequent bill of attainder that declared the evangelicals Barnes, Garrett and Jerome heretics.

In all these events, was Cranmer culpably compromised?84 Should he have offered himself for martyrdom?85 In accordance with our earlier assessment of Cranmer’s doctrine, we may conclude that Cranmer saw the cause of evangelical doctrine as greater than the deaths of individuals. This is not because he was a heartless ideologue, but because, with Scripture and the Church Fathers, he believed in a glorious afterlife such that martyrdom was not a final blow for God’s elect. Cranmer may well have been prepared to die; but he saw that he had God’s work to do in England and he was not going to needlessly remove himself from that task. Fear, confusion, naivety and indecision may all have played their part, but it was Cranmer’s solifidianism and its corollaries that played the determining role in his public policy.

Conclusion: An Effective Protestant Reformer

The enthronement of Edward VI (1547) marked the culmination of Cranmer’s work and the temporary vindication of his trust in God’s sovereignty over history. His Book of Homilies were based on the strong solifidian doctrine developed during Henry’s reign and foreshadowed in the Bishop’s Book.86 His prior forging of strong evangelical links both at home and abroad enabled Cranmer to put Protestant teachers such as Ridley, Latimer, Bucer, Fagius and others in positions of authority and influence in England.87 His long-term advocacy for the English Bible had paved the way for lay education in Christian doctrine, of which the Book of Common Prayer (1549) was the next logical step. Cranmer was truly a Protestant Reformer, in belief and in action, even though he was not a politician and many of his endeavours took years to bear fruit in the political arena.


Ayris, Paul. ‘God’s Vicegerent and Christ’s Vicar: the Relationship Between the Crown and the Archbishopric of Canterbury, 1533–53’. Pages 115–56 in Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar. Edited by Paul Ayris & David Selwyn. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1993

Bromiley, G. W. Thomas Cranmer: Archbishop and Martyr. London: The Church Book Room Press, 1956.

Brooks, Peter N. ‘Cranmer from His Correspondence’. The Expository Times 101/1 (1989): 8–12.

Brownell, Kenneth. ‘Thomas Cranmer: Compromiser or Strategist?’. Pages 1–16 in The Reformation of Worship: Papers Read at the 1989 Westminster Conference. London: Westminster Conference, 1989

Clifford, Alan C. ‘Cranmer as Reformer’. Evangelical Quarterly 63/2 (1991): 99–122.

Cross, F. L. and E. A. Livingstone (eds.). ‘Cranmer, Thomas’. Pages 428 in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 3rd ed.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.

_______. ‘Henry VIII’. Pages 752–54 in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 3rd ed.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Elliott, Maurice. ‘Cranmer, a Man Under Authority: An Introduction’. Churchman 109/1 (1995): 61–65.

_______. ‘Cranmer’s Attitude to the Bible: “Lucerna Pedibus Meis Verbum Tuum”’. Churchman 109/1 (1995): 66–76.

_______. ‘Cranmer’s Attitude to the Monarchy: Royal Absolutism and the Godly Prince’. Churchman 109/3 (1995): 238–49.

_______. ‘Cranmer’s Attitude to the Papacy: “And as for the Pope, I Refuse Him as Christ’s Enemy”’. Churchman 109/2 (1995): 132–42.

Hall, Basil. ‘Cranmer’s Relations with Erasmianism and Lutheranism’. Pages 3–37 in Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar. Edited by Paul Ayris & David Selwyn. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1993

Kastan, David S. ‘“The Noyse of the New Bible”: Reform and Reaction in Henrician England’. Pages 46–68 in Religion and Culture in Renaissance England. Edited by Claire McEachern and Debora Shuger. Cambridge: University Press, 1997

MacCulloch, Diarmaid. ‘Archbishop Cranmer: Concord and Tolerance in a Changing Church’. Pages 199–215 in Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation. Edited by Ole P. Grell and Bob Scribner. Cambridge: University Press, 1996

______. Thomas Cranmer: a Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

Null, Ashley. Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love. Oxford: University Press, 2000.

Rafferty, Oliver P. ‘Thomas Cranmer and the Royal Supremacy’. The Heythrop Journal 31 (1990): 129–49.

Redworth, Glyn. ‘A Study in the Formulation of Policy: The Genesis and Evolution of the Act of Six Articles’. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 37/1 (1986): 42–67.

Ridley, Jasper. Thomas Cranmer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966.

Primary Document Sources

Cranmer, Thomas. Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556. Edited by John E. Cox. The Parker Society. Cambridge: University Press, 1846.

Cranmer, Thomas. Writings and Disputations of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556, Relative to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Edited by John E. Cox. The Parker Society. Cambridge: University Press, 1844.

Hardwick, Charles. A History of the Articles of Religion: to Which Is Added a Series of Documents, from A.D. 1536 to A.D. 1615, Together with Illustrations from Contemporary Sources. Revised ed. London: Bell and Daldy, 1859.

Henry VIII. Defence of the Seven Sacraments. Edited by Louis O’Donovan. New York: Benziger Brothers, 1908.

Henry VIII. The King’s Book: Or, a Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for Any Christian Man. Edited by T. A. Lacey. Originally pub. 1543. London: SPCK, 1932.

Henry VIII. ‘The Six Articles Act, 1539’. Pages 303–19 in Documents Illustrative of English Church History. Edited by Henry Gee and William J. Hardy. London: Macmillan and Co., 1910

1 Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: a Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 233–34.

2 G. W. Bromiley, Thomas Cranmer: Archbishop and Martyr (London: The Church Book Room Press, 1956), 36.

3 Glyn Redworth, ‘A Study in the Formulation of Policy: The Genesis and Evolution of the Act of Six Articles’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 37/1 (1986): 47.

4 Henry VIII, Defence of the Seven Sacraments (ed. Louis O’Donovan; New York: Benziger Brothers, 1908), 200–9, 326–43.

5 The phrase ‘by the law of God’ which appears in articles 2–5 is replaced by ‘expedient and necessary to be retained’ in the sixth article on confession. See Henry VIII, ‘The Six Articles Act, 1539’, in Documents Illustrative of English Church History (ed. Henry Gee and William J. Hardy; London: Macmillan and Co., 1910), 305–6.

6 Ashley Null, Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love (Oxford: University Press, 2000), 7.

7 Thomas Cranmer, Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556. (ed. John E. Cox; The Parker Society; Cambridge: University Press, 1846), 340–41. See MacCulloch, Cranmer, 183.

8 F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone (eds.), ‘Henry VIII’, in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 752–54, 753.

9 Redworth, ‘Formulation of Policy’, 47–49.

10 Peter N. Brooks, ‘Cranmer from His Correspondence’, The Expository Times 101/1 (1989): 8.

11 Basil Hall, ‘Cranmer’s Relations with Erasmianism and Lutheranism’, in Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar (ed. Paul Ayris & David Selwyn; Woodbridge: Boydell, 1993), 5.

12 Alan C. Clifford, ‘Cranmer as Reformer’, Evangelical Quarterly 63/2 (1991): 99–122.

13 Bromiley, Cranmer, 37.

14 Kenneth Brownell, ‘Thomas Cranmer: Compromiser or Strategist?’, in The Reformation of Worship: Papers Read at the 1989 Westminster Conference (London: Westminster Conference, 1989), 3–5.

15 Brownell, ‘Compromiser or Strategist?’, 4.

16 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 71.

17 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 116.

18 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 127.

19 Oliver P. Rafferty, ‘Thomas Cranmer and the Royal Supremacy’, The Heythrop Journal 31 (1990): 129–49.

20 Maurice Elliott, ‘Cranmer’s Attitude to the Monarchy: Royal Absolutism and the Godly Prince’, Churchman 109/3 (1995): 244.

21 Jasper Ridley, Thomas Cranmer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966), 410.

22 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 116–17.

23 Paul Ayris, ‘God’s Vicegerent and Christ’s Vicar: the Relationship Between the Crown and the Archbishopric of Canterbury, 1533–53’, in Thomas Cranmer: Churchman and Scholar (ed. Paul Ayris & David Selwyn; Woodbridge: Boydell, 1993), 139.

24 Rafferty, ‘Royal Supremacy’, 142–43, 146.

25 Diarmaid MacCulloch, ‘Archbishop Cranmer: Concord and Tolerance in a Changing Church’, in Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation (ed. Ole P. Grell and Bob Scribner; Cambridge: University Press, 1996), 199–215.

26 Null, Doctrine of Repentance

27 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 60–72, 173–236.

28 Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 102–15; Hall, ‘Erasmianism and Lutheranism’, 15–17

29 Hall, ‘Erasmianism and Lutheranism’, 18

30 Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 21–24; Clifford, ‘Reformer’, 110–113.

31 Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 19–20; cf Brownell, ‘Compromiser or Strategist?’, 4, whose only explanation is that Cranmer was a ‘soft touch’, too ‘good and decent’ for the ruthless Tudor court.

32 Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 249.

33 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 342–43 where Cranmer disputes Vadian’s Zwinglian view of the sacrament.

34 Thomas Cranmer, Writings and Disputations of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1556, Relative to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (ed. John E. Cox; The Parker Society; Cambridge: University Press, 1844), 374; Hall, ‘Erasmianism and Lutheranism’, 32–33 dates the change.

35 Bromiley, Cranmer, 44–45.

36 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 181.

37 Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 26.

38 Clifford, ‘Reformer’, 106.

39 Elliott, ‘Monarchy’, 242.

40 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 108–15.

41 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 135, 166–69.

42 Brooks, ‘Correspondence’, 9.

43 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 161–65.

44 Hall, ‘Erasmianism and Lutheranism’, 23.

45 Charles Hardwick, A History of the Articles of Religion: to Which Is Added a Series of Documents, from A.D. 1536 to A.D. 1615, Together with Illustrations from Contemporary Sources (Revised ed.; London: Bell and Daldy, 1859), 245–46.

46 Hardwick, Articles, 247–51.

47 Hardwick, Articles, 252.

48 Hardwick, Articles, 244.

49 Hardwick, Articles, 253–56.

50 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 337–38; see Brooks, ‘Correspondence’, 9.

51 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 185–95; Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 133–34.

52 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 195, 206–7.

53 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 83–114, esp. 106–14; see Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 121–33; MacCulloch, Cranmer, 209–11.

54 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 114.

55 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 196.

56 Hall, ‘Erasmianism and Lutheranism’, 28–29; Bromiley, Cranmer, 41–42; Clifford, ‘Reformer’, 101.

57 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 345–46; see Brooks, ‘Correspondence’, 9.

58 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 258.

59 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 118–27.

60 Hall, ‘Erasmianism and Lutheranism’, 29.

61 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 260.

62 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 237.

63 Redworth, ‘Formulation of Policy’, 56–61, quotation from page 60.

64 Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 154–55; MacCulloch, Cranmer, 252–53

65 Clifford, ‘Reformer’, 101.

66 Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 157–212.

67 Cranmer, Writings and Letters, 412; see Bromiley, Cranmer, 60.

68 Rafferty, ‘Royal Supremacy’, 139–40; MacCulloch, Cranmer, 88–89, 98.

69 Rafferty, ‘Royal Supremacy’, 142; MacCulloch, Cranmer, 158–59.

70 Bromiley, Cranmer, 25; and Maurice Elliott, ‘Cranmer’s Attitude to the Papacy: “And as for the Pope, I Refuse Him as Christ’s Enemy”’, Churchman 109/2 (1995): 134 make similar points.

71 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 101–2, 232–36.

72 Brownell, ‘Compromiser or Strategist?’, 6, 11.

73 Cranmer, Letters and Writings, 246; MacCulloch, Cranmer, 101.

74 Cranmer, Letters and Writings, 246; MacCulloch, ‘Concord and Tolerance’, 205–10.

75 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 232–36.

76 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 135.

77 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 156–57.

78 Cranmer, Letters and Writings, 323–24, 401.

79 MacCulloch, Cranmer, 159.

80 Bromiley, Cranmer, 27–28; Rafferty, ‘Royal Supremacy’, 142; Elliott, Monarchy, 241.

81 Clifford, ‘Reformer’, 101; MacCulloch, Cranmer, 157–58, 268; Brooks, ‘Correspondence’, 10; Bromiley, Cranmer, 51.

82 Redworth, ‘Formulation of Policy’, 47–50; Bromiley, Cranmer, 46–48.

83 Bromiley, Cranmer, 49.

84 so Brownell, ‘Compromiser or Strategist?’, 11–12.

85 so Rafferty, ‘Royal Supremacy’, 146.

86 Hall, ‘Erasmianism and Lutheranism’, 3; Null, Doctrine of Repentance, 213–36.

87 Brownell, ‘Compromiser or Strategist?’, 10.






One response to “Thomas Cranmer the Protestant reformer during the reign of King Henry VIII”

  1. Essay as blog post! Good on you Lionel. A very fine essay too.