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Cranmer, Thomas (1489-1566), an English archbishop, born at Aslacton in Nottinghamshire, and educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, of which society he became fellow in 1510, vacating his fellowship soon after on account of marriage, but receiving it again upon the death of his wife before the expiry of the year of grace. In 1523 he was ordained, and lectured in divinity in his college, and was examiner in divinity for the University. In 1528 an outbreak of the sweating sickness emptied Cambridge, and Cranmer with two pupils went to Waltham in Essex, where he met Gardiner and Fox who were in attendance upon Henry VIII., and pleased them and, through them, the king by his view that Henry could obtain a divorce from the ordinary ecclesiastical courts without the necessity of an appeal to Rome. The king employed him about the divorce question, made him archdeacon of Taunton, engaged him to write a treatise and to argue the question before the authorities of Oxford and Cambridge, and further sent him as a member of an embassy to Rome upon the subject. In 1531 the king appointed him ambassador to the German emperor, and in Germany Cranmer married again, and was still in that country when Henry in 1532 summoned him to the vacant see of Canterbury, an honour which Cranmer tried to avoid. The archbishop carried out the king's wishes and tried the question in his archiepiscopal court, giving judgment against Queen Catherine, and a week later he crowned the new Queen Anne Boleyn. The next three years he spent chiefly in the affairs of his diocese, and in advancing the doctrine of the king's supremacy in matters ecclesiastical as against that of the Pope. He was subservient to the king in the matter of annulling Anne Boleyn's marriage, as later he was in that of Anne of Cleves. His great work, however, was the advancement of the Reformation, though he had not the courage to oppose the "Six Articles." The Homilies, which appeared in 1547, are considered to be some of them his own handiwork. His Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament is considered to set forth the tenets of the old-fashioned English High Church. At Henry VIII.'s death Cranmer became under the king's will head of the Council of Regency. During the reign of Edward VI. the archbishop was diligent in producing the First and the Second Prayer-book. His siding with Lady Jane Grey's party, in spite of his promise to Henry VIII., brought upon him, quite apart from other causes, the enmity of the new court party. His committal to the Tower in 1553 was followed by his death by burning in 1566, his besetting sin of weakness causing him to make recantations and reassertion of his opinions up to the last. On the whole, he seems to have been a man of good intentions and kindly amiable disposition, but his weakness and vacillation made him a time-server and a coward.