Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2003-02 > 1045053620

From: Cristopher Nash <>
Subject: Re: Biography of Thomas Norton of Sharpenhoe
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 12:40:48 +0000
References: <><a05100301ba6ac7fbe64a@[]> <><a05100301ba6b0f4c4199@[]><><a05100302ba6c514333f2@[]> <><a05100301ba6cbe7d97d6@[]> <a05100300ba6e1dd78b70@[]><> <a05100300ba6e962dbb11@[]><>
In-Reply-To: <>

Todd wrote --

>Cristopher Nash wrote:
>2) Herts Visitation of 1634: The Bodleian astonishingly missing a
>copy of this, by phone today with the Herts Rec Office I've had it
>confirmed that it shows the pedigree of Robert of Market-cell, husb.
>of Ann da. of Robert Hare [sic] of Lincolnshire [nota bene]. He is
>given (gives himself, we believe, sh. bef. his d. in 1635) parents
>Thomas Norton of Sharpenhoe and Margaret, daughter of Thomas
>Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (Thomas subsequently marrying
>Alice daughter of Edmund Cranmer).
>This is a useful demonstration of the reliability of Visitations.

Mmm. Bloody marvelous.

>>Robert and Ann (Hare) Norton are shown with children: Thomas,
>>Richard, George, Robert, Thomas [sic], Ann wife of James Castle of
>>London, and Elizabeth. [Harleian vol. 22 (1886), based on Harleian
>>MSS 6147 and 1546].
>As to the dual Thomas, Streatley records apparently show Thomas bap.
>10 Dec. 1605, bur. 20 Dec. 1605; Robert, bap. 2 Dec. 1606; Anne,
>bap. 10 Oct. 1608; Thomas, bap. 15 Sep. 1609.

Yes, I recall that. I note that (as of 1831 anyway) Sharpenhoe is
actually a hamlet in the parish of Streatley. Really must do my

For Norton researchers interested in the Cranmer connection -- and
for anyone thinking things get more user-friendly as we leave the
medieval period behind, at least when we're dealing with one of the
most famous and heavily documented figures of the 16th century --
here's a chastening illus of what's involved. From the review by
Sean Lawrence (U of British Columbia) of Diarmaid MacCulloch's
_Thomas Cranmer: A Life_ (Yale UP, 1996).
(Lawrence says of the book "[A]t six-hundred and thirty-two pages,
excluding the bibliography, index and three appendices, this volume
is likely to define our view of Thomas Cranmer for generations". It
rec'd the (American) James Tait Black Memorial Prize for
Biography,1996, the Duff Cooper Prize 1996, and the (British)
Whitbread Book of the Year 1996).
Call it 'Thomas Cranmer, the Genealogist's Friend, or Handy Uses for
a Large Box':

"Cranmer married twice, but....[E]ven his first wife's family name is
speculation....Of his second wife, scarcely more is known. MacCulloch
raises, only to dismiss, the rumour that she was kept in a box
(250)....Margaret, the second Mrs. Cranmer, would have had to live in
England so secretly that even her husband's most bitter opponents
never learned of her existence (250)....Unfortunately, what makes the
women who participated in these contraband or near-contraband
marriages so interesting also makes them almost impossible to
research. MacCulloch remarks that "a complete silence envelops
Cranmer's wife during the 1530s; she probably came to England quite
soon after he became Archbishop, but she kept so low a profile as to
be invisible...." (250). Moreover, the secrecy which we would expect
to surround an illegal activity is compounded by Cranmer's almost
complete reticence regarding his family. MacCulloch claims that
Cranmer makes only a single reference to either wife in all surviving
correspondence (481). None of his children's ages are known with any
precision (361)....[W]hen MacCulloch claims that only one reference
to Margaret Cranmer survives, I am prepared to believe him. This is a
rich, deeply researched work....[t]he bibliography fills twenty-six
large pages, drawing on manuscript collections from Douai to


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