The Rise & Fall of Thomas Cromwell: Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant

The Rise & Fall of Thomas Cromwell: Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant

John Schofield

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 0752458663

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

An authoritative biography of one of the most important figures of the English Reformation who rose from humble beginnings to become Henry VIII's chief minister 
Thomas Cromwell wielded enormous power while he retained the king's favor, but the failure of Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves, which Cromwell had arranged, led to his swift downfall and execution. This biography reveals that the popular image of him as a blood-stained henchman is largely fictional. Detailed research into contemporary sources illuminates his brilliant mind and his love for and patronage of the arts and humanities, while short case studies shed new light on his relations with, and his reputation among, Henry VIII's subjects. The final part narrates the drama of his downfall, and the king's posthumous exoneration of the "most faithful servant he ever had."

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admiration for him. He reminded Henry that some nuns discharged from monasteries in England were not forbidden to marry. Then he brought in the prospect of the marriage to Anne, confirming that John Frederick remained supportive. At this point the letter takes a subtle turn. The Schmalkaldic League, said Cromwell, was ‘steadfast and constant’; but the German princes expect a crisis in Europe at any time, so that ‘either the evangelicals must destroy the Papists or else the Papists them’; and we

Sampson now looked bleak, for his denials left Henry unimpressed. Ralph Sadler, after meeting Henry, reported that the king ‘liked both him and the matter the worse, perceiving by the examinations that there were witnesses sufficient to condemn him’.34 So Sampson and Wilson were languishing and fretting in jail. Cromwell’s men had also spoken to Tunstall, who by now must have regretted murmuring against taxing the clergy in parliament (see here). Cromwell was even closing in on Gardiner, though

placed the crown on Anne’s head, anointed her and sat at the queen’s table. While Chapuys stayed away in disgust, the French ambassador conspicuously attended, and Francis continued his discreet but firm support for Henry. He ‘has always shown partiality’ to Henry, Chapuys reported gloomily. Francis was also ‘on good terms with the lady, to whom within the last week he has sent by esquire St Julien a handsome and richly decorated sedan chair, and three mules with harness and accoutrements in very

heard unofficially about Jane, so he was unlikely to be misled by this ‘most dear and beloved wife the queen’, as if Henry was still attached to Anne. This is the language of diplomacy. Henry was being indiscreet, but he was not speaking from the heart. Nor was this the right time to officially announce to his ambassadors abroad that he was about to put Anne, the barren wife, away for another woman. Yet it is scarcely credible that Charles or Chapuys would have put the matter as tactlessly as

again according to De Mendoza, promised Wolsey the archbishopric of Rouen. To counter this the ambassador hinted to Wolsey that Charles could make a better offer and facilitate Wolsey’s elevation to the papacy – provided his ‘actions deserved it’. Meanwhile Catherine and Anne, despite their intense rivalry for the king’s affections, at least shared one thing in common – both were equally suspicious of Wolsey’s motives. Anne had by now forgotten Henry Percy, but her loathing of Wolsey simmered as

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