Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555, in the turbulent times during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.
Cranmer was responsible for the first church liturgy in English, known as the Book of Common Prayer. Revised over the centuries, this is still basically the form of worship used in Anglican churches today.
Edward VI was succeeded, in 1553, by the Catholic Queen Mary, and Cranmer was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was charged with treason and heresy and burnt at the stake in Oxford on 21 March 1556.
The statues of important people connected with Canterbury Cathedral, including Thomas Cranmer, were placed in niches on the exterior of the building in the mid-19th century.