Links between Sutterton church and Henry VIII’s Archbishop of Canterbury – Thomas Cranmer – are being uncovered by research linked to a massive restoration.
Some £182,200 of Heritage Lottery Fund cash is being poured into a near £240,000 project to save the “at risk”, grade 1 listed St Mary’s Church.
Cranmer became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1533 and it was he who declared Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon void and married the king to Ann Boleyn.
He remained archbishop during the reign of Henry’s son, Edward VI, but in 1556 Henry’s daughter – Mary I – had Cranmer burnt at the stake in Oxford for treason.
Retired solicitor Peter Cropley and churchwarden David Mossman, a former chairman of Spalding Civic Society, will soon head to Oxford because The Bodleian Library has a series of documents on St Mary’s in Tudor times, offering a tantalising prospect of a big discovery.
Generations of Peter’s family have lived in Sutterton since 1700s, and he’s long known of the links to the Cranmer family.
He said: “We are hoping we find something new in The Bodleian ... we might even find records of a visit (by Cranmer).”
Peter says the first recorded spelling of Cranmer was in 1273 in Sutterton, and it refers to Hugh de Cranmer, who had a manor in the south of the village and lived in Cranmer Hall.
Peter and David would dearly love to locate the site of Cranmer Hall but much of their focus is on the man who became archbishop.
While Thomas Cranmer was born at Aslockton, Nottinghamshire, he maintained ties with Sutterton and Lincolnshire, and it’s likely Cranmer had knowledge of a restoration at St Mary’s when the church was substantially altered.
The history of St Mary’s will be displayed in the church and the story resulting from hours of painstaking research will be published in a book.
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