Thomas Cranmer (July 2, 1489 – March 21, 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and former Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, (for a short time) Mary I. Like many of the nearby roads it is named after former archbishops of Canterbury, who used Croydon Palace as a summer residence. Cranmer had been a major force in Tudor political circles, among other things he helped build the case for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon and wrote and compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer. However, he found his life cut short during Queen Mary’s reign. He was brought to trial for treason and heresy, found guilty, and condemned to death by being burned at the stake. Even then, it was hoped to make him recant his ways, as a dramatic account of his execution explained, with Roman Catholic priests and scholars doing their best to get him to recant even as he was tied to the stake.
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