/ / English statesman Thomas Cromwell: biography

English statesman Thomas Cromwell: biography

Thomas Cromwell - statesman of the eraTudor, the star of the first magnitude in British domestic and foreign policy of the sixteenth century. Several decades of his actual rule put island England among the most influential European countries. Unlike his mentor and friend, Cardinal Wolsey, he was neither royalist nor priest. Thomas Cromwell was a lawyer and in all his undertakings he showed a sober and rational character.

Thomas Cromwell

Childhood and youth

It is known that in 1485 in one of the mostquestionable places in London was born Thomas Cromwell. The biography of this figure begins in Putney, where at the end of the fifteenth century all the scum of the English capital was collected. His father was a brewer and innkeeper, distinguished by a violent disposition and a nasty temper, and did not disdain to petty fraud. It's no wonder that Thomas Cromwell left the family early and began to lead a full life adventure both in England and on the continent. It is known that for a while he served as a French condottier in Italy, distinguished himself in several military campaigns. But the soldier's life was not good for him. Deserting from the army, Cromwell hired a simple employee in the bank house Frescobaldi. Thanks to natural wit and knowledge of languages, he becomes a banker's confidant. Gradually Cromwell is trusted by the most delicate transactions - for example, all the relationship of the bank with the Vatican administration passed through his hands. After a while Cromwell took a similar position in Antwerp, and then - and in Calais, which at that time belonged to the British crown. After killing off the initial capital, Cromwell decides to return to England. The 16th century begins, and with it the next stage of his life.

Life in England

Having crossed the English Channel, Cromwell settled inLondon. At first he traded a little wool and various fabrics. Having come to the conclusion that the life of a trader is not for him, Thomas Cromwell was educated and became a lawyer. The natural mind and gift of eloquence quickly made him one of London's most successful lawyers.

In the mid-20s of the 16th century, she met Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, one of those people who had made policy in the kingdom. T. Cromwell took the place of secretary of the cardinal.

Thomas Cromwell biography
They were very similar in appearance and ambition. As time has shown, this similarity of aspirations and characters played a special role - both were ambitious and clever, both sought to crush the squeaky medieval bureaucracy and for quite some time were close advisors to the volatile Henry VIII.


According to contemporaries, Cromwell was differentfrivolity and broke many women's hearts. But officially he married only once. When he was his banker, he married Elizabeth Wykis, from whom he had three children. Daughters Anna and Grace died young, and the son became one of the royal courtiers. Supported by Thomas Cromwell and his nephew, Richard. Subsequently, he will be the great-grandfather of the famous Oliver Cromwell. Thus, Thomas Cromwell and Oliver Cromwell are really relatives and statesmen who at different times changed the history of their native country.

The Beginning of the Reformation

It is important to understand in what environment Cromwellbegan his public service. England of the time of Henry VIII was a country of young people, many of whom were not even twenty years old. English culture and society of that time were saturated with the spirit of youth. Hunting, tournaments, dueling and glorious war are the main activities of Tudor youth. And Henry himself was young at the time.

English Reformation
He gladly joins the goldenyouth, constantly leaving his pious wife Catherine, who was a dedicated Catholic. At the same time, the king meets (or introduces him) to the young Anna Boleyn, who shares the tastes and preferences of the monarch. Such a merry life required huge financial injections.

Sprouts of Protestantism

At this time in distant Germany, a young priestLuther King began his crusade against the papacy. It can not be said that the religious outlook of a distant preacher had a decisive influence on the king, the letters of the monarch, in which he strongly condemned the new current, were known. But Henry VIII soon realized the attractive side of the new heresy and saw in them a chance to solve his urgent problems:

  • break marriage with Catherine of Aragon;
  • redirect the flow of money from the pockets of Catholic priests in favor of the royal treasury;
  • to annul the influence of the papacy in their own kingdom.

Pope Clement refuses to annul marriage with Queenforced Henry VIII to take decisive steps, the consequence of which was the English Reformation. The king broke his marriage with the queen and married his impregnable lover Anne Boleyn.

16th century
Thus, the sanctity, infallibility of papal authorityin the English kingdom seriously shaken. In response to the anathema pronounced by the Vatican, Henry proclaimed himself the head of the Anglican Church. An order was issued to secularize the monastic possessions that occupied the vast territory of the island. Of course, there were many supporters of the Catholic Church, who did not recognize the divorce of the king and lost their heads because of their convictions. This fate did not pass by Thomas Wolsey. He was deprived of the title of Lord of the Chancellor and subsequently executed.

But the movement of the Reformation gradually gained itsforce. Supporters of Catholicism have repeatedly tried to restore their influence in English society. But the Reformation took place, and English Protestantism gradually spread throughout the kingdom.

Rapid takeoff

Cromwell's desire for power was exceptional,and in time it coincided with the moment when Heinrich needed a loyal and influential minister. Cromwell's entry into the civil service dates back to 1530, from this point on his career is skyrocketing.

The thirties of the sixteenth century were a periodgreat reforms and transformations related to the destruction of the old English way. Cromwell came to power as a supporter of Anna Boleyn. Wolsey could not change his decision and refused to recognize in the new wife of Henry VIII the Queen of England. Therefore, he was removed from office and replaced by his own protege. Cromwell's nomination was one of the most successful in the personnel policy of the English crown.

Achievements of Cromwell

Among the most significant projects of this politician were:

  • Dissolution of monasteries and the establishment of the royala dominant in all secular and ecclesiastical issues. Cromwell persecuted Catholic priests and supporters of Catholicism, liquidated monasteries, expelling monks from the lands for subsequent transfer to the Crown. For his irreconcilable policies, Cromwell earned the nickname Hammer of the Monks.
    Thomas Cromwell and Oliver Cromwell
  • Developing and facilitating the adoption of new land laws, recalculation and secularization of land, which simplified their taxation and leasing.
  • Expansion of the influence of royal power in the territories of Northern England, Wales and Ireland. These actions angered the major feudal lords and led to unrest, which were brutally suppressed.
  • The use of a printing press for the issuance of decrees, secular and religious literature. It is to Thomas Cromwell that the honor of the edition of the Bible in English belongs. This event occurred in 1539.
    Chancellor of the Exchequer of England

Court realities

As a shrewd and prudent courtier,Cromwell in time noticed the slightest nuances in the behavior of the king and often unfolded his convictions in the opposite direction. For example, with regard to Anne Boleyn, he initially acted as her most devoted supporter. But as the feelings of the monarch cooled, Cromwell changed his attitude to Anna. In the end, he joined the majority, which confirmed the fact of Anna's betrayal, and was an ardent supporter of the execution of Boleyn and the new marriage of the monarch.

Awards and Positions

The king highly appreciated Cromwell's devotion. Rarely, what politician could always be afloat and follow the course of a changeable and mobile monarch. For his loyalty, Henry showered Cromwell with a hail of state awards and appointments. Here are the most important milestones of his royal service:

  • 1531 - member of the Privy Council.
  • 1533 - Chancellor of the Exchequer of England.
  • 1534 - Royal Secretary and Chairman of the Court of Appeal.
  • 1536 - Lord Guardian of the Small Press.

lord of the seal of the small seal

  • 1537 - Knight of the Garter and dean of the University of Wales.
  • 1539 - chamberlain.

At the end of his life Cromwell was grantedCount's title. True, the Earl of Essex was able to use the new title for only a few weeks. Not having time to change his beliefs again, Thomas Cromwell was suspected of royal treason. During the session of the Privy Council he was arrested, and after a short trial he was executed in the Tower at the age of 65.

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