Thomas Cromwell

City of London, England, United Kingdom

January 1, 1485

Aspect Legend

Square

Quincunx

Sextile

Opposition

Trine

Minor aspects

Bio

Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex KG PC (/ˈkrɒmwəl/ or /ˈkrɒmwɛl/; c. 1485 – 28 July 1540) was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540. Cromwell was one of the strongest and most powerful advocates of the English Reformation. He helped to engineer an annulment of the king's marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon so that Henry could lawfully marry Anne Boleyn. Henry failed to obtain the Pope's approval for the annulment in 1534, so Parliament endorsed the king's claim to be Supreme Head of the Church of England, giving him the authority to annul his own marriage. Cromwell subsequently charted an evangelical and reformist course for the Church of England from the unique posts of vicegerent in spirituals and vicar-general. During his rise to power, Cromwell made many enemies, including his former ally Anne Boleyn. He played a prominent role in her downfall. He later fell from power, after arranging the king's marriage to German princess Anne of Cleves. Cromwell had hoped that the marriage would breathe fresh life into the Reformation in England, but Henry found his new bride unattractive and it turned into a disaster for Cromwell, ending in an annulment six months later. Cromwell was arraigned under a bill of attainder and executed for treason and heresy on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540. The king later expressed regret at the loss of his chief minister. Until the 1950s, historians discounted Cromwell's role, calling him a doctrinaire hack who was little more than the agent of the despotic King Henry VIII.Geoffrey Elton, however, featured him as the central figure in the Tudor revolution in government in The Tudor Revolution (1953). Elton portrayed Cromwell as the presiding genius, much more so than the king, handling the break with Rome and creating the laws and administrative procedures that reshaped post-Reformation England. Elton wrote that Cromwell had been responsible for translating royal supremacy into parliamentary terms, creating powerful new organs of government to take charge of Church lands, and largely removing the medieval features of central government. Subsequent historians have agreed with Elton as to Cromwell's importance, though not with his claims of "revolution". Leithead (2004) wrote, "Against significant opposition he secured acceptance of the king's new powers, created a more united and more easily governable kingdom, and provided the crown, at least temporarily, with a very significant landed endowment."

Thomas Cromwell

Planets

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