Thomas Cromwell

Life Story

Cromwell, soldier, merchant, lawyer, politician and reformer, cut a swathe through tradition to begin the transformation of England from a mediaeval country within Catholic Christendom to a Protestant Nation State. His exceptional administrative ability made him indispensable to Henry VIII, and his political acumen helped him out-manoeuvre his many rivals. Like others before and after him, he eventually fell from power through entanglement with Henry’s matrimonial problems.

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Following in the Footsteps

In his youth, Cromwell travelled widely in Europe. After joining Wolsey’s household, he spent much of his time in and around the south-east of England, attending to Wolsey’s property matters. As Minister to Henry, he seldom went far from the King’s side.

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Find out more about Thomas Cromwell

Cromwell has been a controversial figure for 500 years: ruthless schemer; visionary statesman; committed Protestant; destroyer of Queens and royal blood; saint and sinner. He was all of these and more, generous and supportive to friends, he made an implacable enemy.

Book Reviews

Cromwell was frequently referred to in contemporary correspondence and also makes an appearance in Cavendish’s “Life of Wolsey” and Foxe’s “Acts and Monuments”. A comprehensive study of his life and letters was undertaken by Merriman in 1901. He came to the fore again in G R Elton’s reappraisal of the Tudor period in the 1950s. Current biographies are by Hutchinson (2006), Borman (2014) and Everett (2015)