June 10 – The arrest of Thomas Cromwell, and two monks are starved to death

On this day in Tudor history, 10th June 1540, in the reign of King Henry VIII, the king’s right-hand man and ‘fixer’, Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was arrested and taken to the Tower of London.

Find out what happened on that day…

And three years earlier, on this day in 1537, two Carthusian monks died after being starved to death in prison.

What had these monks done to deserve this awful fate?

Find out about them and their fellow Carthusian martyrs in this edition of #TudorHistory Shorts video:

You can click here to find out more about the Carthusian Martyrs of Henry VIII’s reign, and you can click here to enjoy a talk on my visit to London Charterhouse, the home of their order.

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One thought on “June 10 – The arrest of Thomas Cromwell, and two monks are starved to death”
  1. Sir Edward Hall recorded that many rejoiced at Thomas Cromwells execution and lamented it should have been seven years earlier, he had many enemies and it was his misfortune that King Henry V111, already resentful at being bound in holy wedlock to Anna from Cleves, let himself be persuaded that his right hand man was a traitor and deserving of death, his arrest is poignant I agree, there is something so distasteful about humiliating a man already brought low, he was told he was guilty of treason and heresy and then he was roughly stripped of his prized Ceremonial Order Of The Garter, and St George’s Collar which was carried out by the Earl of Southampton a one time friend, and of course the Duke of Norfolk who heartily disliked the overbearing and lowly born Cromwell, thus ended his career, like so many before him and those who followed after, he was to walk the same steps to the Tower in disgrace and never return, this evil genius of Henry V111 had led an interesting life, born in Putney he left home in his teens and later reminisced he had been a bit of a ruffian, he travelled to the continent and there is a tale he became a soldier, when he returned to England he found himself working under Cardinal Wolsley and became invaluable to the king when the former failed to secure a divorce from Katherine of Aragon, he married and had three children, a son who inherited his title of Baron Cromwell and two daughters who both died young, his lineage continues today through his son Gregory, who to add more honour to his fortune, married Queen Jane Seymours sister, there are reports that he also fathered a daughter out of wedlock but kept her existence a tightly guarded secret as he feared the dishonour, although it was the norm at court to have mistresses he maybe regarded it a sin, he is chiefly remembered for his closure of the monasteries and for having played a part in the downfall of his former queen and friend, most historians agree it was Cromwell, on the authority of the king who engineered the deaths of Anne Boleyn and her so called paramours, but whether he himself was guilty of treason is another matter, I could feel sorry towards Cromwell but I do not, I think he was ruthless and whilst he is not alone in that trait of character, amongst his contemporaries at court, he nevertheless never showed any remorse for the deaths of Henry’s second wife nor the men who died with her, in fact he appeared to boast about it afterwards, his sudden fall from Grace was in a way just as spectacular as Anne Boleyn’s, his letter he wrote to his king and master shows the desperation he was feeling, like a drowning man he vainly seeks the hand of his saviour but none was fore with, ‘I beg for mercy mercy mercy’ he pleads but he knew his master was not so merciful and Henry V111 could well have read it when he retired to bed for the night, his loathsome queen lying beside him, he only had to look upon her disagreeable face and remember it was Cromwell who had put him in this most unpleasant situation, he was well favoured by the king for ridding him of his first two queens now, with the disastrous marriage to the fourth, he was about to get what many at court probably described as his just deserts.

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