(ca. 14851540). Adviser of T. Wolsey*; after the latter's fall 1529, in the service of Henry* VIII; vicar gen. 1535; chief adviser and agent of the king in ch. affairs; Earl of Essex 1540; supported Eng. Protestantism; planned and executed the pol. maneuvers that gave the Ch. of Eng. indep. from Rome; these maneuvers included support of the king's marriage to Anne Boleyn, negotiations with the Luth. Schmalkaldic princes, dissolution of monasteries, and pub. of the Eng. Bible. When the internat. pol. situation 1540 made Henry VIII seek the goodwill of Charles V, the king repudiated his Prot. policy of the 1530s; his marriage to Anne of Cleves was annulled; Cromwell was condemned to death by a parliamentary act of attainder and beheaded. See also Bible Versions, L 5.
R. B. Merriman, Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1902); A. G. Dickens, Thomas Cromwell and the English Reformation (New York, 1959); N. S. Tjernagel, Henry VIII and the Lutherans (St. Louis, 1965). NST
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