Gateway to the Classics: The World's Story: England by Eva March Tappan
The World's Story: England by  Eva March Tappan

Cranmer at the Traitors' Gate

by Frederick Goodall

(English artist,  1822-1904)

WHEN Cardinal Wolsey failed to secure a divorce for Henry VIII from his first wife, Catharine of Aragon, mother of Queen Mary, one of his chaplains, Thomas Cranmer, was of great assistance to his scheme, and as a reward was made Archbishop of Canterbury. Moreover, when Henry VIII made his will, he appointed Cranmer one of the Regents who should rule until Edward VI came of age. Cranmer was a Protestant, and agreed to placing Lady Jane Grey upon the throne. For these reasons, Mary bore no good will toward him. He was soon sent to the Tower of London, and is shown in the illustration entering by way of what was known as the Traitors' Gate. No man could hold the positions which he had held without making enemies, and now in his downfall they were ready to seek their revenge. He was tried first as a traitor, then as a heretic. He was declared guilty on both charges, and was burned at the stake in front of Balliol College, Oxford, in the year 1556.

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