04 March 2009

Cranmer's bill

In my office hangs a calendar. March commemorates Cranmer's burning with an image of the burn notice. This austere and terse page represents one of the most chilling moments in English history. It is the original bill for the burning of Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Matthew Parker's predecessor as Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury.
It reads:
"Item chardges layd out and paide for the burning of Cranmer as followeth,"
itemizing kindling, wood faggots and the hire of two executioners. The total, including the cost of upkeep in prison, is ₤63.10s.2d [63 pounds, 10 shillings and 2 pence]. Cranmer was burned alive in Broad Street in Oxford on 20 March 1556.

I hope to post a photo of it on my blog. The whole calendar will become viewable through Stanford library in conjunction with Cambridge. See the links below.

I receive this calendar from a European book vendor called Harrassowitz. They have been sending calendars to their customers for many years highlighting medieval manuscript illuminations. This year the concentration is on the library of Matthew Parker (1504-75). He
was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1559-1575, and also an avid book collector. He salvaged many English treasures about to be dispersed at the dissolution of the monasteries. He gave them all to Cambridge's Corpus Christi College in 1574.



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