Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Question from Anon - Lenden, Thornton and Barber

Does anyone know more about who Lenden, Thornton and Barber were - apparently associates of Dr. Gardiner?

1 comment:

Foose said...

With the caveat that Tudor names are spelled various ways and it's difficult to positively identify people without more information than their surnames, I think that these three are likely to be some of the conservative clergy who, allied with Gardiner, sought to bring down Archbishop Cranmer in1543.

Lenden - I could find no Lenden. There is, however, a Dr. John London, whom Diarmaid McCulloch describes as "a flamboyant figure who makes an agreeably satisfying villain for Cranmer partisans in his 1543 troubles; a persecutor of Oxford evangelicals as early as 1528, and a papalist sympathizer in the 1530s who had nevertheless played an eager part in the dissolution ... he eventually died in prison accused of perjury, after the plot against Cranmer had colllapsed." (Thomas Cranmer: A Life)

London attracts a lot of colorful invective. Philip Hughes calls him "one of the vilest men of all this vile time" (The Reformation in England). David Knowles (The Religious Orders in England) describes London as "... the most unsavory name of them all. He has had the misfortune to incur odium with every party; to the Catholics his activity in suppression, to the extreme Protestants his persecution of heretics, and to moderate Anglicans his insidious attack on Cranmer rendered him detestable ..."

Thornton and Barber - these are perhaps Richard Thornden and John Barber (also spelled Barbour and Barbor), of whom MacCulloch says: "... Prebendary Richard Thornden, whom Cranmer had long trusted with diocesan business, and Dr. John Barber, the Official Principal of the archdiocese. Both of them had thus demonstrated that their first loyalty was to their Oxford friends [i.e., they were conspiring with the conservatives to ruin Cranmer, behind their ostensible patron's back], Thornden as former Warden of Canterbury College, and Barber as a Fellow of All Souls. Typically, Cranmer put them through an immediate humiliation, forgave them, and continued to rely on their services, even making Thornden his suffragan bishop two years later."

Thornden survived this crisis and went on to persecute Protestants under Queen Mary. Barber, interestingly, had earlier represented Queen Anne Boleyn on May 18, 1536, at the Archbishop's court where Cranmer nullified her marriage to Henry VIII, and a year later was consulted by Henry (through Cranmer) about the Duchess of Richmond's dowry. He died in 1549.