Sunday, September 13, 2015

13 September 1553 A.D. Thomas Cranmer summoned to the Star Chamber—Cranmer’s Downward Spiral

13 September 1553 A.D. Thomas Cranmer summoned to the Star Chamber—Cranmer’s Downward Spiral

This day, Thomas Cranmer was summoned by the Council and ordered to appear before/in the Star Chamber.

Edward VI had died on 6 July 1553. Cranmer had—just days ago on 5 Sept 1553—written an affirmation of his allegiance to his doctrinal and liturgical reforms. Bishop Scory had it copied and distributed. Cranmer's written affirmation was posted in London and was quickly being read even in Cheapside.

We posted on that. By Sept 1553, however—things were moving quickly...and in a downwards direction for English Reformed Churchmen!

The main charge in view: “treason.”

Yet, many of the accusers—themselves-- “had been more active in the conspiracy [the "legal device"] than he had and had been pardoned on payment of fine.”

Cranmer was thrown in the Tower. Others would soon be joining him.

There would be a trial on 13 Nov 1553.

Cranmer was accused along with Lady Jane Grey and husband. All were convicted and condemned to death.

Bishop Heath thought Cranmer would be deprived of his archbishopric and pensioned off (Foxe, VIII, 38), a more painless and perhaps productive approach. But, Bishop Heath underestimated the strength of hostility for the English Reformation, the Reformers and Cranmer.

But Renard, an ambassador, reported that Cranmer would in time be executed (Strype, Cranmer, 2, 439).

The majority who signed the legal “device” for Lady Jane Grey’s supercession over Mary 1 were forgiven. Cranmer had signed it with objections to Edward I. Edward 1 essentially ordered Cranmer to sign it.

But, Edward dies and there were new sheriffs in London.

Bishop Stephen Gardiner, like Thomas Cranmer, had been heavily involved in the King’s Matter. On that score, he was every bit as guilty as Cranmer. 

Yet, Cranmer's old nemesis, the witty Stephen Gardiner “now stood high in royal favor.” 

To reverse the Reformation, Mary 1 only needed to “replace and silence the archbishop, not to destroy him.” But, she had other ideas beyond silencing the Reformed archbishop.

Cranmer was left in the Tower. After 13 Sept 1553, Cranmer was a jail bird.

Things were not going to improve for him thereafter—in time, the charge of “treason” would give rise to the charges of heresy, perjury and violation of an oath of celibacy. 

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