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Thomas Cranmer Burned at the Stake

This Day in History:  March 21, 1556 Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake.  Look closely at this engraving of Thomas Cranmer being burned at the stake by the orders of Queen Mary.  Notice that he is holding his charred right hand high in the flames.

“Thomas Cranmer was archbishop of Canterbury during much of the reign of King Henry VIII of England, architect of England’s Protestant Reformation, and primary author of the Book of Common Prayer. The liturgy he composed still remains in use by many Anglicans. Because Cranmer annulled the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, he was in jeopardy when their Catholic daughter Mary came to the throne. In an effort to save himself from martyrdom by fire, he recanted his Protestant views. When he found he was to burn anyway, he wrote out a sermon to read before his execution which occurred on this day March 21, 1556. It called men to repentance and godly living before abruptly taking up the issue of his recantations.”


“And now I come to the great thing which so much troubles my conscience, more than any thing that ever I did or said in my whole life, and that is the setting abroad of a writing contrary to the truth, which now here I renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death, and to save my life, if it might be. . . . And forasmuch as my hand hath offended, writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished; for when I come to the fire it shall first be burned.”

“And as for the pope, I refuse him as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist, with all his false doctrine.”

Illustration Source:  I scanned this image from my original 1732 Fox’s Book of Martyrs.   Our original book is about 3 inches thick, 10 inches wide, and 15 inches tall.  It must weigh at least 10 pounds. It is full of illustrations of Protestants being tortured to death. (mostly burned at the stake). This book contains thirty-one plates that I have scanned and cleaned up.  These engravings are very sharp because they were scanned from a my  large original images, cleaned up, and then shrank down to the smaller book that we are now producing (6 3/4 X 9 ¼) .   I sell a book full of these illustrations at the following link.  You can also see every engraving in this book at this same link:  Click Here