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Tudor Minute August 23: Stephen Gardiner rises again


Today in 1553 Mary Tudor made Stephen Gardiner her Lord Chancellor. Gardiner was born around 1483, and early in his life he had been great friends with humanists like Erasmus. He rose to prominence under Cardinal Wolsey, and he worked for Wolsey trying to secure the divorce of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. His work was unsuccessful, and as it became clear that England was headed towards a break with Rome, Gardiner stayed Conservative. He was against Cromwell, and the Reformation. But he did support royal supremacy over Rome, and so he managed to keep his head. Under the reign of Protestant Edward he actually spent some time in jail.

When Mary came to power she immediately released Gardiner and other prisoners who were imprisoned for their conservative beliefs, and she made him her Lord Chancellor today. He didn’t enjoy the position long as he died in 1555, so he never saw the shift back to Protestantism under Elizabeth.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com.

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