Cromwell played the game very well, more than any other player, but like his predecessor, he had flaws, and his belief that he was so secure that he could do whatever he wanted (including exaggerating on Anne of Cleves’ beauty and grace, to get the King into an alliance that would benefit his faith and increase his power) as well as the nobles’ envy of seeing a nobody rise to such a position of power, caused his demise. Just a few short months after the chief minister’s execution, the French envoy reported that the king “sometimes even reproaches [his ministers] with Cromwell’s death, saying that, upon light pretexts, by false accusations, they made him put to death the most faithful servant he had ever had”. However, contrary to popular belief, the Anne of Cleves disaster was not the end for Cromwell. Wallace was found guilty and chose to be executed by firing squad rather than hanging. he shouted at the beleaguered Cromwell, complaining that Anne was 'nothing so well as she was spoken of'. This was passed in late June and Cromwell was condemned to die. Reproduced with permission of the Marquess of Salisbury, Hatfield House, Below: Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex © National Portrait Gallery, London, Thomas Cromwell, writing to Henry VIII from the Tower of London. And it is not unknown to many of you that I have been a great traveler in the world but being of a base degree, was called to high state … Since the time I came there unto, I have offended my prince, for which I also ask him for hearty amnesty. By 1539, Cromwell was desperate to claw back favour and soon thought he had found the perfect means. He was a lawyer determined to impose his own character – methodical, detached, and calculating – upon government.

Cromwell started off on the right foot with Henry VIII.
It is likely that he privately instructed Cromwell to get him out of it. Contrary to popular belief, the Anne of Cleves disaster was not the end for Cromwell. Many have slandered me and reported that I have been a bearer of those who have maintained evil opinions, which is untrue.

He was due to hang in Exeter Prison on 23 February 1885, but three times the trapdoor beneath the scaffold failed. All of the bullets missed his heart and he tried to leap from the chair, screaming, but bled to death after nearly 30 minutes. You can unsubscribe at any time. Nobody could have predicted that in less than three years’ time, he would be dispatched in as brutal a fashion as the woman he had brought down. ( Log Out /  His only chance of survival was to persuade Henry to pardon him. He was so satisfied with the result that negotiations immediately proceeded and Anne made her way to England in December 1539. New Yorker William Kemmler holds the dubious record of being the first person to have been executed by electric chair. In 1877, a fight broke out between Wallace and another man over accusations of cheating during a card game, leading to Wallace shooting the other man in the head. This was the zenith of Cromwell’s career. One day before his death, he was visited by the archbishop of Canterbury [Thomas Cranmer] and Seymour to inform him of his death-sentence. But the military life did not suit him, and he soon found more gainful employment in Italy, within the household of a wealthy Florentine merchant called Francesco Frescobaldi. Emma Slattery Williams is BBC History Revealed‘s staff writer, This content first appeared in the March 2020 issue of BBC History Revealed. Cromwell was executed on Tower Hill on 28 July.

Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Cromwell set Henry up with his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. There is a saying that things happen for a reason – and John ‘Babbacombe’ Lee may well have thought this applied to him. A man of genuine religious conviction, Cromwell paid for the translation of the Bible into English so that all Henry’s subjects had ready access to God's word. The publication of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall in 2009 transformed Thomas Cromwell's reputation from a scheming, ruthless villain of history into a loyal, humorous and streetwise hero. It was quite a fall for a man who had risen so high in his life.
In the end, it was decided that he would be transported to America. He added: “the King’s Majesty hath called my Lorde Privy Seal [Cromwell] villain, knave, bobbed him about the head, and thrust him out of the privy chamber.” Although Cromwell would “laugh” at such treatment, he was acutely aware of the danger he was in. Cromwell's name can be found on a plaque just inside the door of the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, and there is a memorial on the site of his execution on Tower Hill. Please enter your number below. Wolsey fell out of favor with Henry, after failing to annul his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, so he could marry Anne Bolyne, hoping to sire a male heir. In stark contrast to the majority of Wolsey's sizeable entourage, Cromwell stood by his patron when he was thrown out of office for failing to secure the annulment of the King's marriage to Katherine of Aragon, so that he might marry Anne Boleyn. You will shortly receive a receipt for your purchase via email. Though Henry forgave him, their relationship crumbled, writes the Encyclopedia Britannica. ( Log Out /  The execution of Thomas Cromwell. There seems to be a problem, please try again. His head was stuck on a pole on top of London’s bridge. As they were preparing for the next execution, a cry was heard from within. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020. But Henry soon realised the enormity of his mistake in having such an able and loyal minister put to death. Cromwell's birthplace is often cited as Putney, which at the time was a small village by the Thames, west of the City of London. Now I beg you again that you will pray for me.” Spotting Thomas Wyatt the Elder, he called out to him, asking him to pray for him as well and told him not to weep “for if I were not more guilty than you were when they took you, I should not be in this pass.” He lastly turned to the executioner begging him “to cut off the head with one blow, so that I may not suffer.” Sadly, this was not to be. Image: A plan of the Tower of London created in the late 1500s. By the time Cromwell returned to England in around 1512 he had both the experience and contacts to set himself up as a merchant. In October, opposition to the religious reforms that he had orchestrated broke out into open rebellion with the Pilgrimage of Grace, a large-scale revolt that quickly spread across the Midlands and northern counties. “I like her not! If you subscribe to BBC History Magazine Print or Digital Editions then you can unlock 10 years’ worth of archived history material fully searchable by Topic, Location, Period and Person.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. It would prove a successful marriage and produced at least three children: Alice (or Anne), Grace and Gregory. If you subscribe to BBC History Magazine Print or Digital Editions then you can unlock 10 years’ worth of archived history material fully searchable by Topic, Location, Period and Person. She was later referred to as the King’s Sister and given expensive properties, making her one of the richest women in England. Cromwell, feeling sorry for him, tried to comfort him by saying “there is no cause for you to fear. Increasingly, he began to distance himself from his chief minister. Far from flattering the sitter, it offers a brutally honest appraisal of a portly, middle-aged man who is hard at work in his study. Thomas Cromwell is one of the most controversial Tudor figures - and possibly the most disliked (at least if you're talking to an Anne Boleyn fan). He joined a gang and terrorised Texas and New Mexico, robbing trains and even committing murder. But he was eager to escape the family home.

But like his father, he was not content to follow just one career path and soon began practising law. You have successfully linked your account!