§ Lord Sudeley asked Her Majesty's Government:
§ What proposals they have to mark the quincentenary of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer this year.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)
My Lords, the Government have no proposals to mark the quincentenary of Archbishop Cranmer. I understand that the Church of England will mark the anniversary by a lecture in the Great Hall at Lambeth Palace on 31st October.
§ Lord Sudeley
My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. First, why has the Post Office refused to issue a stamp marking Archbishop Cranmer's quincentenary when a stamp has already been issued commemorating the Welsh Bible? Will the Government consider being officially represented at the service at Westminster Abbey on 7th November to mark Archbishop Cranmer's quincentenary, at which the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury will be preaching?
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Sudeley is concerned that the Post Office has not published a stamp to mark the quincentenary. He will realise that that is the responsibility of the Post Office and not of Her Majesty's Government.
With regard to the service in Westminster Abbey, I have no doubt that any member of the Government who receives such an invitation will consider it. So far as I know at the moment, no such invitation has been received.
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle
My Lords, is the Minister aware that in addition to the lecture which I understand will be broadcast there are also services and lectures already planned in Southwell, Cambridge, and in Cranmer's birthplace, Aslockton? There is also a special Cranmer exhibition in the British Library from 6th to 21st October.
My Lords, I am most grateful to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Carlisle for furnishing me with much information to which I was not privy before. I doubt whether many other noble Lords were. The right reverend Prelate has used this occasion to give a certain amount of publicity for what has been undertaken to commemorate Archbishop Cranmer and I am sure that the House is grateful for that.
§ Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos
My Lords, are the noble Earl and the House aware that all Welsh Presbyterians fully support the plans that the right reverend Prelate has announced?
§ Lord Sudeley
My Lords, will the Government entertain any proposals for a parliamentary service to celebrate the quincentenary of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster? Are the Government aware of any proposals to erect a statue to Archbishop Cranmer in St. Paul's churchyard, similar to the statue already erected to John Wesley?
My Lords, with regard to a service and whether the Government should do anything about it, we take the view that this is a matter for the Church and not for the Government. I have no information that I can give to my noble friend about a possible statue.