The Execution of Thomas Cromwell

Posted By on July 28, 2010

On the 28th July 1540, not only was King Henry VIII marrying his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, but his former trusted adviser and Master Secretary, Thomas Cromwell was being beheaded as a traitor and heretic.

Thomas Cromwell had been denied a trial, instead an Act of Attainder had been used against him. In “The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell: Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant”, John Schofield writes about just what Cromwell was accused of:-

  • Releasing men convicted or suspected of treason
  • Misusing and expropriating funds
  • Taking bribes
  • Making appointments without royal approval
  • Being a “detestable heretic” who had spread heretical literature throughout the kingdom
  • Being a “maintainer and supporter of heretics
  • Speaking treasonable words – When preachers like Robert Barnes had been reported to him, Cromwell had said: “If the king would turn from it, yet I would not turn; and if the king did turn, and all his people, I would fight in the field in mine own person, with my sword in my hand against him and all other” and “if I live one year or two, it shall not lie in the king’s power to resist or let it if he would”1.
  • That he was a sacramentary, a supporter of Zwingli and someone who denied the real presence of Christ in the sacrament.

However, although Cromwell’s real crime was his support of the Anne of Cleves marriage and his failure to annul it, Schofield points out that his ruin “was not the Cleves marriage itself” but that it had “begun with the Lenten crisis, and it was sealed by Henry’s passion for Catherine Howard, stoked up by those feastings and entertainments laid on by wily Winchester at his Episcopal palace.”2 According to Schofield, this meant that Henry VIII “now saw his Lutheran Vicegerent as a threat to the king’s headship of the church, and, even more provocatively, the barrier to Anne’s removal and Catherine’s coronation.”3

Thomas Cromwell’s Execution

Although Cromwell wrote to the king proclaiming his innocence and begging for mercy, he was condemned to death, although it was unclear whether he would have to suffer the full traitor’s death  of being hanged, drawn and quartered or be burned at the stake as a heretic. In the end, the King commuted the sentence to beheading, even though Cromwell was not a nobleman by birth.

On the 28th July 1540, Thomas Cromwell climbed the scaffold and addressed the waiting crowd. He opened by saying “I am come hither to die and not to purge myself, as some think peradventure that I will”4 and then he continued by acknowledging that he had offended God and the King and asking forgiveness from both of them. Then he declared “I die in the Catholic faith, not doubting in any article of my faith… nor in any sacrament of the church”5 but Schofield points out that Cromwell was using gallows humour and irony here and was not referring to the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but instead was using the word “Catholic” in the way that Luther, Melancthon and Cranmer did, referring to the “Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” of the New Testament and Nicene Creed.  He continued by denying the charges laid against him and then said:-

“Many have slandered me, and reported that I have been a bearer of such as I have maintained evil opinions; which is untrue: but I confess, that like as God, by His Holy Spirit, doth instruct us in the truth, so the devil is ready to seduce us; and I have been seduced.”6

Although the words “I have been seduced” makes Cromwell sound as if he is confessing his guilt, Schofield explains that it was probably meants as a “sort of sweeping, general confession that all believers make from time to time, like “forgive us our trespasses”, or “all we like sheep have gone astray””.

Cromwell then committed his soul to Christ, calling on his mercy and stating his faith in the resurrection and justification by faith alone:-

“I see and acknowledge that there is in myself no hope of salvation, but all my confidence, hope and trust is in thy most merciful goodness. I have no merits or good works which I may allege before thee.”7

And with this attack on “the work righteousness of medieval religion” and a declaration of his Lutheran beliefs, Thomas Cromwell ended his speech, knelt at the block and was beheaded. The idea that his execution was botched comes from the chronicle of Edward Hall, where he says that Cromwell “so paciently suffered the stroke of the axe, by a ragged and Boocherly miser, whiche very ungoodly perfourmed the office”8, which suggests that it was not a “good” execution, but there is no firm evidence of this and there is no suggestion that the executioner was paid off by Cromwell’s enemies or that they got him drunk. Whatever the real story, it was a sad end to a man who had risen from his humble roots – son of a smith from Putney – to be the Earl of Essex and the King’s chief minister.

RIP Thomas Cromwell, Master Secretary.

Notes and Sources

  1. The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell: Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant, John Schofield, p261
  2. Ibid., p264
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., p268
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid., p269
  8. Hall’s Chronicle, Edward Hall, p839

Comments on
"The Execution of Thomas Cromwell"

68 Responses to “The Execution of Thomas Cromwell”

  1. Fiz says:

    Not the least feeling of sympathy, Cromwell. You betrayed our dear Anne and destroyed her and her brother and other innocents. You screwed up over of Anne of Cleves. You destroyed and plundered the monasteries. You deserved everything you got.

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    Anne-fan Reply:

    RIGHT ON!

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    Nationalist Reply:

    May this bitch Thomas Cromwell rot in Hell for ever!!!Owing to him Anne Boleyn died without being guilty.. However after 4 years he got beheaded bybthe King too.He was the only person that got executed fairly.

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  2. Nancy says:

    I’m with Fiz. What goes around comes around.

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  3. Sue says:

    It was a risky business being close to the King especially when factions pulled together to oust you. Cromwell knew the stakes but it still must have hit him hard to have risen so high purely on his merits and not from birth rights and to fall so utterly. He called to an unmerciful Henry for mercy, mercy, mercy. He must have realized the irony of it all.

    The picture on this article isn’t Thomas Cromwell however, its George Neville. Check this page out : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hansholbeintheyounger11.jpg

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    John Reply:

    Why does it then say “LORD CROMWELL” at the bottom left?

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  4. gillyO says:

    Henry had a habit of hiding behind powerful ministers. He could send Wolsey and Cromwell out to do his dirty work and then claim it was all their fault, not his. Cromwell did his job well, maybe too well for us Anne supporters. I believe he was a brilliant man seduced by the power he could wield in the name of the King. Once he had a taste of that power he wasn’t going to yield it to anyone else. Hence the destruction of Anne and her party, and the determination of the nobility to do away with him. He was using power they thought they should have and when he bungled the Cleves marriage it gave them an opportunity to take him down. The fact they had to do it by Act of Attainder means that it was a coup, done when Henry was distracted by Katherine Howard. It was said that Henry soon regretted the loss of his “most loyal servant” and was furious at the council for removing him.

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  5. Rachel says:

    I agree with Gilly. Too many people are credited with actions that were fully Henry’s decision. Anne is often blamed for Henry’s rejection of Katherine, just as Jane is blamed for Henry’s execution of Anne.

    I did a research paper on Cromwell and I found he was quite a brilliant man. Despite some unscrupulous actions, he genuinely worked towards a more fair and balanced system. He began work to see that offices were given out for merit rather than favor. His taxation system offered more relief for the commoners. And he kept Parliment running for its long term. It’s amazing to think that for the time period, Cromwell was a completely self made man. He was not expected to overcome his station, but he did and he became the second most powerful man in the country.

    Whatever the reason for his downfall, Henry would never again have such an efficient government. It’s ironic to think that later on, Cromwell’s ancestor, Oliver Cromwell, would execute Henry’s ancestor, Charles I.

    [Reply]

    FabNayNay Reply:

    Oliver Cromwell was actually descended from Katherine Cromwell (born c. 1482), an elder sister of Thomas Cromwell, not his ancestor. And CharlesI was descended from Margaret Tudor, who was King HenryVIIIs sister.

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    Heather Reply:

    still related.

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    Geoff Oosterhoudt Reply:

    Oliver Cromwell was NOT an ancestor, nor was he a descendant of Thomas Cromwell. The two men were collaterally related, not directly. And if Henry VIII was so much set against Thomas at the very end, then why was Thomas raised to an earldom AFTER the marriage with Anne of Cleves had already been celebrated….months later, in fact? Although Thomas’ earldom did not come until the very year of his execution, he was obviously high enough in the king’s favor for his son Gregory Cromwell, K.B. to marry the widowed sister of Jane Seymour, Elizabeth Seymour (Oughtred) in or before 1538. This do not come across as acts of ultimate royal disfavor.

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  6. Meghan says:

    I wonder if Oliver Cromwell had any dealings with Anne’s Irish relatives when he plundered Ireland…anyone know?

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  7. Emma says:

    I don’t want to nit-pick but isn’t the sketch at the top of this article Geroge Neville ?

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    Claire Reply:

    Marilee Cody – see http://www.marileecody.com/cromsket.jpg – has it on her site as Thomas Cromwell and various other history websites have it as Cromwell but it also gets labelled as George Neville too, weird!

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  8. Emma says:

    I’ve just realised Sue made the same point about the sketch. Sorry about that. I thought that Henry did show Cromwell the mercy he asked for by the manner of his death. As Cromwell had all his titles striped from him he was once more a commoner and as such would usually have been hung, drawn and quartered.

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  9. vilhelm says:

    Sorry fiz, Cromwell helped more the English people saving them from the atrocious, cruel and usurious catholic church of the time. The never constant king Henry VIII would kill anyone on a whim, up to and including one of England’s greatest citizens.

    [Reply]

    Fr. Robert (Anglican) Reply:

    Right on “vilhelm”! May Thomas C a true Reformed Christian RIP! I wouldn’t count such for old Henry VIII!

    [Reply]

  10. It was a dangerous thing to even be known by name by most of these monarchs who had to listen to the reports of others to determine what was going on. Royalty did not have an accurate view of life around them and must have been terrified every day of their lives what with one plot or another to take their power and lives. They were tortured souls making a living hell out of the lives of all around them–the perpetual circle. Only once the public could read and write and newspapers reported what the public really thought, did the monarchs have a chance to get a glimpse of reality.

    It’s all entertaining to read about, but I’m certainly glad I don’t have to live it.

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  11. clare says:

    More nitpicking I’m afraid…
    In fact, Oliver Cromwell was not descended from Thomas Cromwell. He was descended from Thomas’s sister Kat. In fact, he should have carried the surname Williams but the children of Kat Cromwell and Morgan Williams chose to take the name of Cromwell as at the time his star was in ascent at the court of Henry VIII and their parents died when they were still relatively young.
    Neither was Charles I desended from Henry VIII. (Again) he was actually descended from Henry’s elder sister Margaret. An amazing and little known woman, who was married to the King of Scotland ( James IV) at the age of 13 and was the great grandmother of James VI of Scotland (James I of England) and was, therefore, great great grandmother of Charles I.

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    Hi Clare,
    Feel free to nitpick but I don’t even mention Oliver Cromwell or Charles I in the article so I don’t understand. Are you replying to another comment?
    Thanks.

    [Reply]

  12. The Man says:

    Strange I thought brothers and sisters were related!

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    Jerome coleman Reply:

    Thomas Cromwell and Oliver Cromwell,must have caused the deaths of a million people in the British Isles ,they didn’t shape the country they destroyed it divided the people destroyed churches ,monasties which was asource of comfort and learning at the time for the poor and wretched

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    Malcolm Dobson Reply:

    Clare was, I think, responding to this comment from Rachel –

    ” It’s ironic to think that later on, Cromwell’s ancestor, Oliver Cromwell, would execute Henry’s ancestor, Charles I.”

    Yes, brothers & sisters are related, but a brother is not the ancestor of his sister’s children.

    (If I could nit-pick Rachel’s comment further, Charles was (not) Henry’s descendant, not his (not) ancestor).

    [Reply]

    WearyWarrior Reply:

    To say one is “decended from” means a DRECT LINE of descent. It does not mean “related to.” There is a distinct and important difference.

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  13. fred page says:

    It would have been impossible for Cromwell to have risen from such lowly beginnings without exceptional talent. As a British republican, I can only wonder at the esteem held for the Royals of Europe following their hideous history.
    This tyrant executed or at least ordered the death of over 60,000 people during his reign of terror.
    I don’t know if there is a heaven and hell but I’ll tell you this much.
    If there is then ‘Old Nick’ must have made a nice few quid melting down the crowns and coronets of these despots.
    In 1066 one bunch of Scandanavian ganger thugs defeated another bunch of Scandanavian ganger thugs after which the victor ‘William the Bastard’ carved up our country and divided it amoungst his mates, thus forming the basis of our aristocracy, the legacy of which we still live with today.
    Cromwell like his namesake and relative Oliver were of course men of their times but at least they came from common folk who rose via ability , not birth, and constructed the basis of our democracy.

    [Reply]

    John w Reply:

    Right on. The aristocratic tyrants were thugs and psychopathic murderers mad with powe and lust for more.

    [Reply]

    Maja Hultgren Reply:

    Scandinavian ganger thugs? Shows only how little you know about Viking history. They (we) actually contributed a lot to what would become Great Britain.

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  14. Tim says:

    I hope Cromwell died a nice slow pain fill death. No mercy just pain……

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  15. Tim says:

    I hope Cromwell died a nice slow pain fill death. No mercy just pain……

    [Reply]

    Marco Reply:

    Foolish Tim. I, for that matter, question the intellect of people that use your kind of words. You must be a youngster, still wet behind the ears and hiding behind mommy’s skirt.

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    scotia Reply:

    Marco, your name says it all. You have NO KNOWLEDGE of British History. CORNWALL was a lying deceitful maggot who contributed not only to the debauchery of the King but also to the destruction of the Roman Catholic Church in England. I question the intellect of people like you Marco; who do not look at the facts. Henry VIII was the off grandson of Edward IV who deposed the anointed King Henry VI of Lancaster. Edward IV was a debauched individual, and with his compatriot William Earl of Hastings raped women at will. Hastings in fact whilst in company with Edward IV raped a 12 year old girl who died of horrific injuries. Looks like the acorn f=dod not fall far from the tree did it, when it came to his grandson. Where is the House of Tudor now mate?? Cromwell, Cranmer Anne Boelyn, Henry V111 bun in the deepest pit of hell.

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  16. Tim says:

    I hope Cromwell died a nice slow pain fill death. No mercy just pain……

    [Reply]

  17. Tim says:

    I hope Cromwell died a nice slow pain fill death. No mercy just pain……

    [Reply]

    Nationalist Reply:

    Yes my friend :) May this ******* ******* [edited] Thomas Cromwell rot in Hell for ever!!!I am very glad he got beheaded!!

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    Nationalist,
    Whatever your opinion of Thomas Cromwell, please can you refrain from using offensive words on this blog – thank you so much.

    [Reply]

  18. Tom says:

    Fred up there obviously suffers from class envy and is clearly a socialist. Probably a blue collar type. He needs to bone up on his history, however, because it is considerably flawed.

    The UK is not a democracy nor should it be. Democracies are evil by their very nature. It’s a code word used by socialists to undermine the status quo. Shame, shame.

    God save the queen and the constitutional monarchy!

    [Reply]

  19. Bobby says:

    Thomas was my long ago grandfather so I cant hate him for things he did. I will say theres little to debate that he did infact do a lot of back stabbing.

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  20. utkarsh says:

    Henry viii was a coward and lustful man. He used Wolsey and Cromwell to his advantage and whrpen he got bored with a wife he made new scapegoats of his ministers and got a new bed mate. The stupid king was never satisfied even by gracious ladies like Catherine of Agar nor the beautiful Anne Boelyn. The king behaved most cruelly with sweet Mary and Elizabeth. The king was never sure what to follow, catholic or protestant or lutheran cult and kept swinging. Even his religious orientations were dictated by his sexual appetite. Cromwell was a loyal servant like Sir Moore but faced a cruel fate. Without him, Henry viii would have lost his life or throne long ago.

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  21. sarah baker says:

    i think thomas cromwell was a good friend to henry and to anne and a good servant to them also henry has no right to send cromwell to be beheaded like that its so cruel and its not fair on his family i thought henry was his loyal friend to thomas cromell i watched a programme called the tudors on tv many thanks miss sarah patricia baker

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  22. Mary says:

    Anne Boleyn was wicked and cruel and she got what she deserved. When you do wrong it always come back to haunt you. She was not not a good person. Any Anne fans out there must be just like her and I feel sorry for you. Treating people like s**t doesn’t make you innocent and sweet. What Thomas Cromwell did was not right either but it doesn’t excuse the fact that she did the same thiing. Other’s were also excuted because of her and they did nothing to deserve it. She was also a backstabber not just Thomas Cromwell.

    [Reply]

    Nationalist Reply:

    Are you kidding??? Thomas Cromwell was a bustard and he got ehat he deserved here for a lot of years.Owing to his inducements Anne Boleyn got beheaded by the King of England.She was innocent!!!It was good that 4 years after Anne Boleyns death,Thomas Cromwell got beheaded too.He finally got what he deserved this son of a bitch!!!May Thomas Cromwell rot in Hell for ever!!!!

    [Reply]

    Difan Reply:

    Ah, an idiotic Boleynist . Sir Thomas Cromwell did more for Great Britain than that whore ever did. Read a current history book why don’t you.

    [Reply]

    Difan Reply:

    Agreed Mary ! You are correct.

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  23. Adam says:

    Savagery – a few comments on this page prove how little we’ve come in 500 years.

    [Reply]

    WearyWarrior Reply:

    Thank you, Adam, my thoughts as well. Civility has not advanced with the passing of time.

    [Reply]

  24. mia88 says:

    The Royals like Henry would do well to emulate the Kings and Emperors in other countries like China, Korea, Japan etc…..they keep their Queens but for side thrills, have a whole gaggle of concubines ( mistresses if you like )……if only Henry had use this ‘system’, instead of having to resort to beheading etc , the outcome will be vastly different, hehehe

    [Reply]

    Difan Reply:

    I suppose but you must know that he considered himself pious to some degree (I know – poor self awareness) and there was that bit about an heir. No bastard was going to ascend to the thrown. That was out of the question – he could be made an Earl or something (notice how many landed gentry are descendants of offspring of bastard royals), but never King.

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  25. Adam says:

    Hell is court for all the blood thirsty royals. Majestic peasants in the The Kingdom of Demons. No mercy for the unforgiving. Rot in hell Henry.

    [Reply]

    John w Reply:

    Amen Sic semper tyrannous.

    [Reply]

  26. mike edwards says:

    every single protestant is a descendant of a catholic ancestor the protestant church was built on adultery hi henry the eighth this is actual fact you cannot sanitise history

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    I don’t think anyone is trying to sanitize history. What do you mean?

    [Reply]

    PoliticalAnimal Reply:

    I have to take exception to the statement that every Protestant is the descendent of a Catholic. Very few slaves taken from Africa to the US and indoctrinated into the Protestant church while slaves would have had Catholic ancestors.

    Nevertheless, if your claim is that all or most Europeans in the middle 16th century either were or were descended from Catholics, I agree. But so what? What is the point you are trying to make with that statement?

    The perceived excesses of the Catholic church were the catalyst for the Protestant reformation and men like Luther, who can properly be identified with the creation of the protestant movement, were not persuaded to their views simply as a way to help the English king achieve his end with regard to the ending of his marriage to Katherine. Although I have no data regarding Luther’s specific views on ‘the Kings great matter’, I’d wager that he would also have opposed the end of Henry’s marriage to Katherine.

    The case can be made that the Protestant movement afforded Henry a precedent to achieve his ends without the involvement of the Pope, but to suggest that the entire Protestant church was built on adultery because Henry chose to separate the church in England from the control of Rome is a little simplistic and not a very well reasoned argument.

    [Reply]

  27. Jim Donnelly says:

    I believe that Jerome Coleman is right in saying that Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell did not shape the country into a better place but in actual fact destroyed it. The dissolution of the monasteries was a terrible act of barbarity…removing sources of food, shelter and even work for hundred of thousands of poor people. Certainly, a reformation was badly needed in the Church but it should have come from within and not from without and sadly it was led by a lust-crazed monarch who saw the flesh as the answer to everything. Amazingly, the Reformation that was to reform the country lost its way hundreds of years ago. A report in The Times a few years ago reported that the Church of England was asking for the one and a half million of their Faith who attend Sunday services to contribute more at collection time. The report went to to state that there are up to sixty million people in the United Kingdom who are classed as being C of E and posed the question why are the other millions not attending church if the Reformation was so important in those bygone days! Interestingly, the title of Defender of the Faith awarded by a Pope in Rome to Henry VIII for his earlier defence of the Catholic Faith was imprinted on all English coinage and is still there to today for all to see beside the Queen’s head although contracted to the letters ‘D. F.’ Is the Queen or her advisers really aware of the paradox that exists in this comedy of religious and regal errors!!!

    [Reply]

  28. Billijo Maynard says:

    I wish people would stop judging Thomas Cromwell. Henry VIII is responsible for her death, not Thomas, even if he had a part to play in Anne’s downfall, if he had refused to do anything, Henry would have found someone else that would have anyway. I admire the man, it takes a lot of courage to say what he did at the scaffold, and he died with honor and dignity. Whatever crimes he committed, he was only following Henry’s orders, not his own. To judge him according to our standards does not work. None of us had to live under Henry VIII’s reign, nor do we know what is was like to do so. I see Cromwell as a wronged innocent, just like Thomas More, Margaret Pole, Anne Boleyn and many others who were executed by Henry VIII.

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  29. Gabski says:

    Surely one of the reasons Henry kept swapping his wives was that he was desperate to continue the Tudor line, seeing as how he was only the second member of it. He could not legitimately dump his first wife so(clever move) he dumped the authority that forbade divorce and introduced his own religion. The Tudors were relative newcomers to the throne, having overthrown the Plantagenets only in the previous generation. Henry was probably typical of most men of his day in believing that failure to produce an heir was the fault of his various wives. You ‘d have thought after one or two of them that the penny would have dropped that he was firing blanks!

    [Reply]

  30. Gabski says:

    The Tudors were relative newcomers to the throne, having beaten the Plantagenets only in the previous generation, so Henry must have been desperate to produce a male heir and undoubtedly that was why he had so may wives. Courtiers like Cromwell cleverly kept the king on their side as long as they could, but when Henry was running out of options even those closest to him were vulnerable. No doubt that was why Cromwell kept his own council. Of course, it never occurred to Henry that he might be the one firing blanks, hence the lack of children. I know he had three but it’s a poor ratio given the number of wives he had. I expect that each of his wives thought they were going to be “the one” and thus their position would be safe but you’d have thought that after two or so, any woman would have avoided his roving eye. You’d have been safer just being his mistress! The mistake the wives made, including Boleyn, was thinking that they personally meant anything special to Henry, rather than just a potential breeding machine.

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  31. Man1reds says:

    The only good thing that came about the rule of King Henry VIII, was the birth of Princess Elizebeth. Whom became Queen Elizebeth Ist. The greatest monarch this Country has ever had.

    [Reply]

  32. Smiffysan says:

    I can’t believe the amount of historically ignorant comments here. Anne Boleyn was never a shy virgin when she married Henry, she was a scheming hard as nails women who, along with her sister mary, had the morals of an alley cat. Get a grip people.

    [Reply]

    Claire Reply:

    And your evidence is…?
    It’s fine to disagree with people and to debate topics like this but telling people to “get a grip” is rude and just stifles debate. Share your opinions, back them up with evidence and let’s have a proper discussion.

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  33. Glenn Burkland says:

    I find you all to be a bit hypocritical. I am quite sure despite your moral inclinations; that you would have done your best to survive in the service of a despot King by most and/or any means necessary. After all, it’s only conjecture on our parts when we state how we would have conducted ourselves in similar circumstances.

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  34. Difan says:

    Are you all insane? Such devotion to a known Harlot (Anne) who comes from a family of loose character (every one of them had a vice). Are you Boleyn descendants? While I don’t believe she slept with everyone she was accused of, I do believe she was mean and especially toward Queen Catherine and Lady Mary. If you tell me she did what she had to in order to survive then you must also accept that Thomas Cromwell (easily regarded as one of the best English statesmen) did the same and provided a better service to Great Britain. Enough of the slander toward Sir Thomas Cromwell! Read a reputable, current history book or just sit quietly.

    [Reply]

  35. john W says:

    What is this talk of “ancestor” between Thomas and Oliver Cromwell. The proper word for later descendants is “progeny” Look it up.

    [Reply]

  36. Erika says:

    we all draw conclusions, from history through a variety of means; diaries, self-reporting, state and royal records and opinions rendered by various involved individuals or gossiping bystanders. In truth, there most likely, is not an accurate and uninfluenced report recognizable from these past events-especially those events involving personalities who were silenced, dispatched or prevented from ever stating their stories.The nature of any adulterous, or illegitimate involvement during this century
    however “intimate,tempestuous, or seemingly justifiable”” was seen with a most critically judgemental and condemning eye. Bestowing sexual favor seldom reflected a dependable means or method of securing and guaranteeing one’s own agenda or standing in society. Histories of love affairs and similar arrangements were usually complicated with the emotional volatility of those involved as well as those who are no longer involved. Who can guess the accuracy of what was recorded? The reasons for the attractions and dissolutions of these relationships., may not ever have been fully understood by the lovers involved.
    The motivation for personal safety and protection from a vacillating regent was strong reason to adjust your interpretation of events, esp in such a volatile environment as the mid-1500s, We can only acknowledge who appeared to have the greatest political authority and surmise who those were who were influential enough to wield it. No wonder, it was referred to as one of our “darker” ages.

    [Reply]

  37. Erika says:

    we all draw conclusions, from history through a variety of means; diaries, self-reporting, state and royal records and opinions rendered by various involved individuals or gossiping bystanders. In truth, there most likely, is not an accurate and uninfluenced report recognizable from these past events-especially those events involving personalities who were silenced, dispatched or prevented from ever stating their stories.The nature of any adulterous, or illegitimate involvement during this century
    however “intimate,tempestuous, or seemingly justifiable”” was seen with a most critically judgemental and condemning eye. Bestowing sexual favor seldom reflected a dependable means or method of securing and guaranteeing one’s own agenda or standing in society. Histories of love affairs and similar arrangements were usually complicated with the emotional volatility of those involved as well as those who are no longer involved. Who can guess the accuracy of what was recorded? The reasons for the attractions and dissolutions of these relationships., may not ever have been fully understood by the lovers involved.
    The motivation for personal safety and protection from a vacillating regent was strong reason to adjust your interpretation of events, esp in such a volatile environment as the mid-1500s, We can only acknowledge who appeared to have the greatest political authority and surmise who those were who were influential enough to wield it. No wonder, it was referred to as one of our “darker” ages.

    [Reply]

    Erika Reply:

    Considering the character of men (and women) we haven’t evolved by much measure.
    We still can choose our path to love, live harmoniously, share, care and give of ourselves. or we can hate, wage war, scheme, live selfishly and wastefully and worry, we still lose sight of what can be our own good and decent character and settle for our baser nature..

    [Reply]

  38. Bill says:

    It’s amazing how everyone complains about Henry the eighth, yet Charlemagne had 4 wives and 5 concubines and the Popecrowned him Holy Roman Emperor!

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  39. Gail Stinton says:

    History! Isn’t it marvelous! Though after many years of my interest in nearly everyone & everything, I think History (His-story) needs a logical change to “OUR-STORY” for who, even then, knew fact positive what was true & what was not? Henry the 8th as all Royals everywhere, were rich, spoiled, in love with power & used that power for their own whims. He was without any pity or remorse unless he chose to show some. Even to his own progeny. Anyone in his court had reason to fear for their own lives & oft times the lives of their families. The only thing I can believe he did well was to pull down the power of Rome’s corruption which was complete in every aspect one could imagine. He only did that when he could not force Rome to give him his way. He as most leaders, are to be feared, for what can be done to bring them to task? Yet “we” must keep all laws or be punished, many times, even the innocent. He is certainly “Food for thought”. Anne Boleyn reached too high without intelligence & paid dearly!

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  40. Mary the Quene says:

    Thomas Cromwell wasn’t a monster. Anne Boleyn wasn’t a saint. They were complex, complicated, ambitious members of a dysfunctional, closed society. It seems odd to throw shade at them; they’re both dead and neither deserved exactly what they received.

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