Thomas Cromwell

The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell

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Thomas Cromwell ­ Notes
In 1524, Cromwell was appointed at Gray's Inn. In 1525 he became
a Commissioner for the suppression of small monasteries and in
the late 1520s, he helped Wolsey dissolve 30 monasteries to raise
funds for Wolsey's grammar school in Ipswich (now known as
Ipswich School) and the Cardinal's College, Oxford. In 1527
Elizabeth Cromwell died at Stepney, Middlesex, followed months
later by their two young daughters.
In 1529, Henry VIII summoned a Parliament (later known as the
Reformation Parliament) in order to obtain an annulment of his
marriage to his first wife and his older brother's widow, Catherine
of Aragon. He took seat as a Member for Taunton until 1536. In
late 1530 or early 1531, Cromwell was appointed a Royal Privy
Councillor for Parliamentary Business and by the end of the year
he was a member of Henry VIII's trusted inner circle.
Cromwell became Henry VIII's Chief Minister in 1532, not via any
formal appointment to office but by gaining the King's
confidence.[12] Subsequently, his authority was validated through
appointments to key positions across the government: Master of
the Jewel Office (15321533), Clerk of the Hanaper and Master of
the Kings' Wards, all in 1532.
Cromwell played an important part in the English Reformation. The
parliamentary sessions of 1529­1531 had brought Henry VIII no
nearer to annulment. However, the session of 1532--Cromwell's
first as chief minister heralded a change of course: key sources of
papal revenue were cut off and clerical legislative power was
transferred to the King as Supreme Head. In the next year's
session came the Act in Restraint of Appeals of 1533, which
forbade appeals to Rome (thus allowing for a divorce in England
without the need for the Pope's permission). Drafted by Cromwell.
When Cromwell used the label "Empire" for England he did so in a
special sense. Previous English monarchs had claimed to be
Emperors in that they ruled more than one kingdom, but in this
Act it meant something different. Here the Kingdom of England is
declared an Empire by itself, free from "the authority of any
foreign potentates." This meant that England was now an
independent sovereign nationstate no longer under the
jurisdiction of the Pope.Cromwell was the most prominent of
those who suggested to Henry VIII that the king make himself
head of the English Church, and shepherded the Act of Supremacy
of 1534 through Parliament. In 1535 Henry VIII delegated powers
he had gained under the Supremacy Act to Cromwell, appointing
him to the newly created office of "Vicegerent in Spirituals." In
this role, Cromwell presided over the dissolution of the
monasteries, which began with his visitation of the monasteries
and abbeys, announced in 1535 and begun in the winter of 1536.
His vicegerency evolved into another new position, vicar general,

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It provided a single unifying institution over the two
provinces of the English Church (Canterbury and York).
In addition to his influence on English religious life, Cromwell
worked to modernize English government. He founded the Court
of Wards and Court of Surveyors to make the taxation system
more efficient, and he contributed to the professionalization of
the bureaucracy. He was the architect of the Laws in Wales Acts
1535­1542, which united England and Wales, and he also helped
to strengthen English government in Ireland.…read more


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