Breashears, Margaret Herbst
Master of Arts, History, Texas Tech University, May (1976)
Historians and biographers have traditionally portrayed Thom- as Cranmer, appointed archbishop of Canterbury in 1533 by Henry VIII, as a political pawn of Henry’s government, They also agree that during Edward VI’s reign, when there was not a strong king controlling religious policy, Cranmer became an ardent protestant reformer. Al- bert Frederick Pollard, in 1904-, gives a typical summary of Cranmer’s position in Henry VIII»s government when he states that Cranmer knew “perfectly well that his mission was to be, as Henry expressed it, “the principal minister’” of Ehgland. As such, Cranmer was expected to obey his sovereign “even if he
disliked it,” because a king irtio had “sent a cardinal to the block, would not be deterred by Cranmer.” Pollard asserts that Henry VIII used Cranmer as a pawn in his scheme to reform the church in England.
Jasper Ridley concurs in Pollard’s portrayal of Cranmer as Henry VIII’s archbishop. He views Cranmer’s protestation at his consecration oath as a sign that the newly elected archbishop would be the king’s tool: “Cranmer probably made” the oath, “not because he wished to provide himself with a justification for violating his consecration oath, but because he had been ordered to do so by Henry.”