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Thomas Cromwell

1485 - 1540

Thomas Cromwell, whose date of birth and early life are unknown, was a parliamentarian and principal advisor to King Henry VIII during the English Reformation. He used his political power to oppose the papacy and monasteries and establish the king’s supremacy both nationally and ecclesiastically, Though his influence made the Protestant cause much more viable in England, Cromwell himself did not seem to be interested in the religious reformation as such, only in securing his own political advantage through support of the king and subjugation of all other parties to the king’s rule. As with many in alliance with King Henry VIII, Cromwell fell out of favour after arranging Henry’s marriage with his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, whom Henry detested. His political opponents convinced Henry that Cromwell was a heretic and traitor, he was arrested and condemned without a trial, and beheaded on 28 July 1540.