Thomas Cromwell, first Earl of Essex
The Royal Collection © 2012,
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Thomas Cromwell, first Earl of Essex

c. 1485-1540

Nominated 1537. Degraded 1540

The son of a Putney merchant, Cromwell was brought to Wolsey's attention through his legal skills,entering the Cardinal's service in 1524. Working for Henry VIII by 1530 and a key figure in the King's break with Rome and the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The King's secretary from 1534 and vicegerent from 1535. Arrested and charged with treason after the failure of Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves. Executed July 1540.