Today in 1555 the Pope in Rome handed down a sentence on the Protestant Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, saying that he was stripped of his archbishopric, and all of his ecclesiastical dignities. The pope also gave permission for the secular authorities to decide his fate. Cranmer recanted his Protestant faith several times, and this should have resulted in his absolution, but he was also the architect of Henry VIII’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon, something that Katherine’s daughter, Mary, who was now Queen, was unwilling to forgive. And so Cranmer was sentenced to be burned. When he was given the opportunity to speak, he should have talked about how he recanted his faith, but instead he recanted his recantation, and spoke of his true Protestant beliefs. When the flames were lit he put the hand that signed his recantation into the flames first because it was the hand that offended God the most.
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.