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Cranmer, Thomas (1489–1556), archbishop of Canterbury, was born, according to his first, anonymous, biographer, on 2 July 1489, at Aslockton, Nottinghamshire. The Cranmers were an old armigerous family; Thomas's father, also Thomas (d. 1501), styled himself esquire in his will of 1501, although his wealth was probably dangerously modest to claim such a status, and the curiously fluid nature of ...

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Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556) by Gerlach Flicke, 1545–1546 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Day, George (c. 1502–1556), bishop of Chichester, was the third son of Richard Day, gentleman, of Newport, Shropshire, and Agnes Osborne, and the elder brother of William Day (1529–1596). Early in 1521 he graduated BA from St John's College, Cambridge, the centre of humanism in the university. The following year he became a fellow, and in 1523 he had two short Latin verses printed in the treatise ...

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Fox, Edward (1496–1538), diplomat and bishop of Hereford, was born at Dursley, Gloucestershire, one of at least three children of William Fox (of a well-known Shropshire gentry family) and his wife, Joanna. According to one unreliable source he had a brother named Charles...

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Gerard (d. 1108), bishop of Hereford and archbishop of York, was a member of a notable ecclesiastical family, being the nephew of Walkelin, bishop of Winchester (1070–98), and of Simeon, abbot of Ely (1082–94). His parents, Osbert and Anna, and his brother, Peter...

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Hilsey, John (d. 1539), bishop of Rochester, may have originated at Hildsley in Berkshire. He is said to have been educated at the Dominican house in Bristol, before becoming a friar there, and subsequently transferred to the Oxford convent, where he became BTh in 1527 and DTh in 1532. Of his religious inclinations at this time little is known, but having become prior of the ...

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Holgate, Robert (1481/2–1555), archbishop of York, was the youngest son of Thomas Holgate and his wife, Elizabeth, members of a family of lower gentry in Hemsworth, Yorkshire.

Holgate was educated in Cambridge, where he proceeded BTh in 1524, and DTh in 1537, having resided near ...

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Kite, John (d. 1537), archbishop of Armagh and bishop of Carlisle, was born in London to unknown parents. He was admitted a king's scholar at Eton College about 1476, and then went to King's College, Cambridge, also as a scholar, in 1480. His graduation is not recorded, but in 1494/5 he proceeded BCnL. For unspecified reasons he was excused lecturing in the following academic year. By then he had already started to acquire ecclesiastical benefices, starting in 1493, when he became a canon of ...

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Knight, William (1475/6–1547), diplomat and bishop of Bath and Wells, was admitted as a scholar to Winchester College in 1487, aged eleven, the son of a college tenant in London. Little is known of his family. In 1514 he referred to John Newington...

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Lee, Edward (1481/2–1544), archbishop of York, was a younger son of Richard Lee of Lee Magna in Kent, and grandson of Sir Richard Lee, lord mayor of London in 1461 and 1470. In later life Sir Thomas More, a friend of the family, affectionately recalled ...