The fall of Thomas Cromwell

What were the reasons behind Thomas Cromwell's fall from power?

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  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 02-01-12 16:19

Reason 1 - Pushing Protestantism too far (part 1)

  • As Vice Gerent in Spirituals, Cromwell had considerable power over the church - Henry can justify the dissolution of the monasteries due to their corruption: Cromwell implemented the idea so was given this title.
  • 2 Formulations (statements of Faith) - 10 articles in 1536 and 6 articles of 1539.
  • 2 Injunctions
  • Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury was less active.
  • Cromwell was the politician, unlike Cranmer.
  • 10 articles pushed Protestant principals and removed some Catholic ones.
  • Injunction of 1536 called for obedience to the supremacy, 10 articles and started a campaign against Catholic practices - superstitions, like buying salvation.
  • Opposition to these was clear as holy days were still observed and priests still taught purgatory (between Heaven and Hell) - lots of priests were Catholic therefore still taught Catholicism and Catholic practices - Cromwell was pushing too much, too quickly.
  • Second Injuction of 1538 put the 2 new English bibles in every Parish.
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Reason 1 - Pushing Protestantism too far (part 2)

  • A campaign against holy days, shrines, pilgrimages and images was introduced, too (2nd injunction) - Henry himself had religious images and went on pilgrimages - Cromwell was going against the king!
  • 6 articles of 1539 began pushing the agenda back with key Catholic teachings reasserted - transubstantiation, confession and a ban on priests marrying.
  • Henry was asserting his views and conservative, Catholic principles.
  • Cromwell was subtly trying to change things in the hopes Henry wouldn't read the detail.
  • Henry was an astute politician so read everything and changed Cromwell's views in 1538 to get his beliefs in 1539.
  • Henry was "flexing his political muscles" over Cromwell and religion when he had John Lambert executed in 1538.
  • He was a key reformer who trained many radical priests.
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Reason 2 - Foreign Affairs

  • Cromwell constantly pushed for a German alliance to promote Protestant links with England (to fight against Catholic enemies and to further Protestantism in England, Henry was excommunicated [thrown out] from the church which meant he'd be condemned to Hell, other rulers then wanted to take over England).
  • England was isolated as France and the Empire openly prosecuted Protestants.
  • Still calls for an anti English crusade.
  • In 1540, war between France and Spain broke out, defusing the need for a German alliance.
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Reason 3 - Marriage to Anne of Cleves

  • Cromwell proposed a marriage between Henry and the daughter of a German Protestant Duke - this suited Cromwell's needs, Henry had been trapped by Cromwell and forced into doing something he didn't want to do (ultimate reason for Cromwell's fall!).
  • It was a disaster and sealed Cromwell's fate.
  • Henry detested the sight of her, calling her the "Flander's mare" (horse).
  • Henry had only seen her portrait before they married.
  • Cromwell ordered Holbein to paint her and he flattered her appearance.
  • The marriage went ahead, but it was unconsummated (no sexual intercourse).
  • It was declared null and void the following month.
  • Anne accepted her fate and was given land worth £3,000 and lived in England.
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Reason 4 - Enemies at Court

  • They gathered information about Cromwell and gave it to Henry (timing was key!).
  • They found that he protected Protestants in Calais and didn't enforce the 6 articles.
  • Norfolk also introduced his niece to court - the young Katherine Howard (she was 15 at the time, it was to pull Henry in towards their views).
  • Henry was captivated by Katherine's youth and charm.
  • Cromwell had been outmanouvered and there was nothing he could do.
  • Cromwell was arrested in June 1540, and executed in July 1540.
  • Henry removed a man who had ended 3 of his marriages, broke with Rome, got the royal supremacy, dissolved the monasteries and doubled the royal income (Cromwell delivered and got all the big/major things Henry wanted, Henry was fickle, ruled by his emotions and too easily persuaded by others, England as a whole did not gain anything, whilst Henry got everything).
  • Cromwell's fall signaled the end of the rise of evangelicals.
  • Conservative backlash was introduced as a result (Catholic's could now insist on their ways and views).
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