The Tudor Society
  • #OTD in Tudor history – 12 June

    Photo of the Tower of London and a portrait of Thomas Cromwell

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th June, Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, got cross with him, telling him to abandon his “wicked life”; Richard Rich interviewed an imprisoned Sir Thomas More; and a newly imprisoned Thomas Cromwell pleaded his innocence and begged for mercy…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 10 June

    Miniature of Thomas Cromwell, portrait of Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon, and painting of the Carthusian martyrs

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th June, two Carthusian monks died of starvation in prison; Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was arrested; and Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon, former suitor of Elizabeth I and a man she dubbed her “Frog”, died in Paris…

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  • #OTD in Tudor history – 18 April

    Portraits of Anne Boleyn, Eustace Chapuys and Thomas Cromwell

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th April, imperial ambassador had an encounter with Queen Anne Boleyn; Thomas Cromwell was made Earl of Essex just three months before his execution; and famous martyrologist John Foxe died aged around seventy…

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  • From the Archives – Queen Anne Boleyn

    As today is the anniversary of Queen Anne Boleyn’s execution on 19th May 1536, I thought I’d share with you this talk I did a few years ago on Anne Boleyn’s fall.

    In it, I examine the roles of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII in those bloody events. Did Thomas Cromwell plot all by himself or was he simply his master’s servant? Was Henry VIII ultimately responsible? Why did Anne Boleyn have to die?

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  • April 18 – Thomas Cromwell becomes Earl of Essex

    A miniature of Thomas Cromwell wearing a fur collar by Hans Holbein the YoungerOn this day in Tudor history, 18th April 1540, King Henry VIII granted the earldom of Essex to Thomas Cromwell.

    The previous earl, Henry Bourchier, had died that March after a horse riding accident. He died childless so the earldom had become extinct until its new creation for Cromwell.

    Cromwell, the man who’d helped the king get rid of Anne Boleyn and dissolve the monasteries, was also made Lord Great Chamberlain.
    He’d failed to get the king out of his marriage to Anne of Cleves, but it looked like he was still in favour.

    However, it wasn't long before Cromwell’s enemies rose up against him. He was arrested at a council meeting on 10th June 1540 and ended up being executed on 28th July for treason, heresy, corruption and more.

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  • July 28 – A man is executed for a detestable vice and sin

    On this day Tudor history, 28th July 1540, in the reign of King Henry VIII, on the same day that Thomas Cromwell was executed, a client of his also ended his life on the scaffold.

    He was accused of magic and “detestable vice and sin”. What did this refer to?

    Find out more about him in this edition of #TudorHistoryShorts…

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  • June 12 – A lawyer and torturer, and Master Secretary Cromwell pleads for mercy

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th June 1567, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, died.

    He wasn’t a particularly nice Tudor chap and was involved in the cases of Sir Thomas More and Anne Askew.

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  • June 10 – Elizabeth I’s “frog”, Thomas Cromwell’s arrest, and the sad end of two Carthusian monks

    On this day in Tudor history, 10th June 1584, Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon, died in Paris, probably of of malaria.

    Anjou was, for a time, one of Elizabeth I’s suitors, and Elizabeth appears to have had true affection for him. She nicknamed him her “frog” and considered marrying him.

    Find out more about what happened between Elizabeth and her dear “frog”

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  • April 18 – Cromwell is rewarded (but not for long!), a martyrologist, and Anne Boleyn bumps into Chapuys

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th April 1540, just three months before his execution, Thomas Cromwell was given two rewards by King Henry VIII.

    Find out more about these rewards…

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  • 23 October – The Dissolution of the Monasteries and John Hopkins’ burial

    On this day in Tudor history, 23rd October 1538, Thomas Goldwell, Prior of Christchurch, Canterbury, wrote to Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief advisor, regarding the forthcoming dissolution of his monastery and its fate.

    It's quite a sad, grovelling letter, and even more sad when you know the full impact of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, which was devastating for his country.

    Find out more about Goldwell's priory and what happened to it, as well as what the dissolution entailed, in this talk...

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  • 18 April – A short-lived reward for Cromwell

    On this day in Tudor history, 18th April 1540, just three months before he went to the scaffold, Thomas Cromwell was given two rewards by King Henry VIII.

    Find out more about these rewards…

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  • Thomas Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey and Wolf Hall

    Thank you to Emilie and Nathaniel the dog for asking these excellent questions on Wolf Hall, and the relationship of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and his servant, Thomas Cromwell.

    Were the two men as close as they were shown in Wolf Hall?

    How did Cromwell feel about Wolsey’s fall?

    I answer these questions and also explain the history behind a scene in Hilary Mantel’s second novel in the series, Bring Up the Bodies, in which Cromwell vows revenge on those involved in Wolsey’s fall and in mocking him.

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  • Thomas Cromwell: Is there more to learn? – Caroline Angus – Expert Talk

    Thanks to Caroline Angus for joining us this month with an amazing talk about Thomas Cromwell. Caroline poses the question … is there anything more to learn?

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  • 28 July – A botched execution for Thomas Cromwell

    On this day in Tudor history, 28th July 1540, the same day that Henry VIII married Catherine Howard, Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, the king’s former chief advisor, was beheaded on Tower Hill having been found guilty of corruption, heresy and treason.

    Find out about Cromwell’s botched execution and his execution speech in today’s talk.

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  • 2 July – Thomas Boleyn’s loss is Thomas Cromwell’s gain

    On this day in Tudor history, 2nd July 1536, Thomas Cromwell, the king’s right-hand man, was formally appointed Lord Privy Seal. The previous holder of the office had been Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire and Ormond, who’d been stripped of the office following the falls of his children, Queen Anne Boleyn and George Boleyn, Lord Rochford.

    But what is a privy seal and what does the Lord of the Privy Seal do?

    Find out more in today’s talk.

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  • 12 June – Thomas Cromwell’s quaking hand and most sorrowful heart

    On this day in Tudor history, 12th June 1540, a clearly frightened Thomas Cromwell, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his arrest on 10th June for treason, wrote to King Henry VIII regarding his “most miserable state”, asking for mercy, and pleading his innocence.

    I share Cromwell’s letter in today’s talk. It is an eloquent letter but also a very moving one. His fear is palpable.

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  • 3 June – The Royal Supremacy

    On this day in Tudor history, 3rd June 1535, Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s vicar-general, issued orders regarding the royal supremacy to the bishops of the kingdom.

    But what was the royal supremacy and what were the clergy expected to do?

    Find out all about the royal supremacy, the orders sent and how bishops reacted, in today’s talk.

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  • 10 June – Thomas Cromwell is arrested

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

    In today’s “on this day” video, I share an account of what happened on that day, the day when Henry VIII’s loyal servant fell from power and was escorted to the Tower of London.

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  • 26 May – Mary seeks Thomas Cromwell’s help

    On this day in Tudor history, 26th May 1536, Henry VIII’s daughter, Mary, sought the help of Thomas Cromwell, the king’s right-hand man. Now that Anne Boleyn was dead and gone, Mary hoped for a reconciliation with her father the king.

    What did she want Cromwell to do?

    What happened to Mary after Anne Boleyn’s death? How was she treated?

    In today’s video,I consider Mary’s situation and what happened between her and her father after this point.

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  • Thomas Cromwell and Catherine Howard Resources

    As today is the anniversary of the execution of Thomas Cromwell and the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine Howard on 28th July 1540, I thought I’d share with you some Thomas Cromwell and Catherine Howard resources as we have plenty of videos, talks, quizzes and articles on these two famous Tudor personalities.

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  • Thomas Cromwell’s fall in 1540

    As tomorrow is the anniversary of Thomas Cromwell’s execution on 28th July 1540, I thought I’d examine the events leading up to his fall and consider why Henry VIII’s right-hand man ended up on the scaffold.

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  • Thomas Cromwell Quiz

    Love him or hate him, Thomas Cromwell is a fascinating historical personality. Test your knowledge of Henry VIII’s right-hand man with this fun quiz. Good luck!

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  • Thomas Cromwell’s Execution – His speech and prayer

    As it is the anniversary of the execution of Thomas Cromwell today, in this week’s Claire Chats video talk Claire talks about the primary sources accounts of Cromwell’s execution, his scaffold speech and the prayer he said. She talks about the controversy over his speech and what his prayer said about his faith.

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  • Danny Dyer and Thomas Cromwell

    In last night’s episode of “Who do you think you are?”, Eastenders actor Danny Dyer found out that he has royal blood and that he’s descended from Thomas Cromwell through Cromwell’s son Gregory. It’s a wonderful episode. I do love Danny Dyer, he’s so down to earth!

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  • Expert Talk – Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and the Fall of Anne Boleyn

    In this month’s second expert talk, Claire Ridgway looks at the fall of Anne Boleyn in 1536 and examines the roles of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII in those bloody events. Did Thomas Cromwell plot all by himself or was he simply his master’s servant? Was Henry VIII ultimately responsible? Why did Anne Boleyn have to die?

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  • Sir Henry Norris and the Fall of Anne Boleyn by Kyra Kramer

    Thank you to Tudor Life magazine contributor Kyra Kramer for this excellent article on Sir Henry Norris, Henry VIII’s Groom of the Stool, and the fall of Anne Boleyn. Over to Kyra…

    Of all the men who were falsely accused of being Anne Boleyn’s companions in adultery, to point a finger at Henry Norris makes the most sense in terms of proximity and politics but the least sense in terms of his close relationship with Henry VIII.

    If historian Greg Walker is correct in his 2002 proposal that Anne’s downfall was not due to her miscarriage of a male foetus in January of 1536 but instead to some hasty words she said in spring, then Norris was a ready-made target. One day in late April, the queen asked Henry Norris, who was the king’s groom of the stool and engaged to her cousin Madge Shelton, when he planned to wed. Norris hedged that he would wait just a bit longer, which vexed Anne. In her anger she told him he was looking for “dead men’s shoes, for if ought came to the king but good, you would look to have me”. This was a major blunder. It was treason to even think about the death of the king, let alone to talk about whom his queen might marry after his demise. Norris was appalled and Anne knew almost immediately that she had said something dangerous. She sent Norris to her chaplain, John Skyp, to swear that she was a good woman and faithful to the king.

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  • Derek Wilson – The Six Thomases of Henry VIII’s Reign

    Historian Derek Wilson has just informed me that he’s doing a series of articles on the six Thomases of Henry VIII’s reign over on his blog. Here are some clickable links for you:

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  • April 2015 Tudor Life Magazine

    Here’s the April Tudor Life magazine with a loose theme of Thomas Cromwell, but as usual we cover a wide variety of historical themes.

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  • Walter Cromwell – Just who was he?

    Walter Cromwell – just who was he?

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  • Thomas Cromwell Mania

    A miniature of Thomas Cromwell wearing a fur collar by Hans Holbein the Younger

    Thomas Cromwell is hot property at the moment and is just everywhere – I wonder why…

    Anyway, I thought I’d draw your attention to some articles about him and also some recommended reading on him.

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