Here is a paragraph that kind of sums up the times the Most Reverend Thomas Cranmer lived.
“Cranmer’s fate has been peculiarly hard. Living in evil days, and exposed, after his death, to the malice of evil tongues, he has suffered in almost every part of his reputation. ‘Papists’ have impeached the sincerity, while Protestants have doubted the steadfastness of his principles; and a too general idea seems to prevail that his opinions were ever fluctuating, or at least were so flexible as to have rendered him little better than a weak instrument in the hands of those who possessed more talent and more consistency. But, if we are to be guided by the result of his ministration, the fact was far otherwise. He was, in truth, the chief promoter and ablest advocate for the Reformation, planning it with the discretion of a prudent, and the zeal of a good man, and carrying it on towards perfection with a firmness, a wisdom, and liberality which obtained for him (by those who value the result of his labours) no less credit for the endowments of his head, than for the impressions of his heart.”1
Richard Lawrence, LL.D., “Bampton Lectures,” pp. 23, 24 (a.d.1804). Third edition. Oxford, 1838.
Whatever you think of the man, I see a man of keen thought and insight, but whose flaws in life and lifestyle made him shortsighted and less effective in the long term. Nevertheless, his mark on the Church of England and the Reformation cannot be underestimated.