This day 462 years ago marks the death of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Before the date of his death, Thomas Cranmer had before been found guilty of high treason and in fact condemned to death. This was in 1553 but instead of death he was imprisoned and tried for heresy, along with two other people; Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley. Both were also found guilty and then burnt at the state in 1555 but Cranmer was left to wait for his verdict from none other then Rome. His position as archbishop was taken from him and his fate was then put in the hands of secular authorities who chose to execute him in March 1556, his sentence was to be burnt at the stake.
On the day of his death Cranmer made his final recantation where he renounced his previous recantations and spoke out against the Pope of Rome saying, “Christ’s enemy, and antichrist, with all his false doctrine.” This was also where he stated that he would first put his hand in the fire, this was to be the first bit of him that burnt, for he was punishing himself for signing the recantations previously. Later on John Foxe wrote of how Cranmer did exactly this, “then it was, that stretching out his right hand, he held it unshrinkingly in the fire till it was burnt to a cinder, even before his body was injured, frequently exclaiming, “This unworthy right hand!”
Thomas Cranmer has gone down in history today as one of the Oxford Martyrs, one of the Protestant martyrs of Mary I’s reign.
With love, Charlotte x