A quiet, calm, courteous man of scholarly bent, liked by almost everyone who knew him, he was no zealot and he spent less than a quarter of each day on running the Church of England.
Three-quarters of his day was given to private work and study, and he kept time also for riding, walking, shooting and playing chess. Under pressure from hawkish Protestants, crucifixes and images of saints were taken from churches, communion was administered to the laity in both kinds - the bread and the wine - masses for the dead were banned and the clergy were allowed to marry Cranmer himself had married in while clerical marriage was still illegal.
Cranmer's new prayer book was based on the Sarum Use, but was influenced by German Lutheran services.
The eight daily observances of medieval tradition were blended into mattins and evensong. Much was retained from the Roman Catholic mass, though how much, exactly, was then and still is a matter of dispute and historians have disagreed ever since over just how Protestant the book was or even if it was Protestant at all.
The disagreement is testimony to the book's qualities as an attempt at compromise between the Catholic and Protestant positions.
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Inevitably, both sides disliked it. The abolition of Latin upset conventional English people, and there was too much compromise for the tougher Protestants, especially as the country's staunchest conservative, Bishop Stephen Gardiner of Winchester, announced from his confinement in the Tower of London that the new rites were Catholic enough to be tolerated. This was a red rag to the Protestant bull. Cranmer produced a new and more radical Protestant prayer book in , whose subsequent vicissitudes echoed the conflicting tides of opinion within the Church of England. It was revised in a more Catholic spirit in , to be succeeded eventually by the Anglican prayer book, more Catholic still and the familiar one which has lasted down into this century.
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