Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, Chief Minister to Henry VIII

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Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, Chief Minister to Henry VIII

Birthplace: Putney, Surrey, , England
Death: Died in Tower Hill, London, Middlesex, England
Cause of death: Executed
Immediate Family:

Son of Walter Cromwell and Catherine Cromwell
Husband of Elizabeth (Wyckes) Cromwell
Partner of Elizabeth Somerset, Countess of Worcester (d. 1565)
Father of Gregory Cromwell, 1st Baron Cromwell of Oakham Castle; Anne Cromwell; Grace Cromwell and Janne Cromwell
Brother of Katherine Elizabeth Williams and NN Cromwell

Occupation: 1st Earl of Essex
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, Chief Minister to Henry VIII

Thomas Cromwell born c. 1485 at Putney, Middlesex, England, died July 28, 1540, at Tower Hill, Tower of London, Middlesex, England, age 55

Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, (b. in or before 1485, executed 28 July 1540), was an English statesman who served as chief minister of King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540.

Cromwell was one of the strongest advocates of the English Reformation, the English church's break with the papacy in Rome. Cromwell helped engineer an annulment of the King's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, so that the king could marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn. Supremacy over the Church of England was officially declared by Parliament in 1534, and Cromwell supervised the Church from the unique posts of vicegerent for spirituals and vicar general.


Member of English Parliament, Henry VIII's chief minister, Master of the Jewel House, Earl of Essex.

His career progressed as follows:

1531 - Member of the Privy Council

1532 - Master of Court of Wards and Master of Jewel House

1533 - Chancellor of the Exchequer

1534 - King's Secretary and Master of the Rolls

1535 - Vicar-General

1536 - Lord Privy Seal and Baron Cromwell of Oakham Castle

1537 - Knight of the Garter and Dean of Wells

1539 - Lord Great Chamberlain

1540 - Created Earl of Essex

(and many more titles too numerous to name)

Cromwell's rise to power made him many enemies, especially among the conservative faction at court. He fell from Henry's favour after arranging the King's marriage to a German princess, Anne of Cleves, which turned out to be a disaster. He was subjected to a bill of attainder and executed for treason and heresy on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540. The king later expressed regret at having lost his great minister.

Oliver Cromwell, the Parliamentarian leader who overthrew the monarchy during the English Civil War, was a great-great-grandson of Thomas Cromwell's sister, Katherine Cromwell (born circa 1482).


  1. Elizabeth Wykes

Children of Thomas Cromwell and Elizabeth Wykes:

  1. Gregory Cromwell, 1st Baron Cromwell
  2. Anne Cromwell
  3. Grace Cromwell

Thomas Cromwell was the son of Walter Smythe Cromwell and Catherine Clossop


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Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, Chief Minister to Henry VIII's Timeline

Putney, Surrey, , England
Age 27
Putney, Surrey, , England
Age 28
Putney, Surrey, England
Age 30
Putney, Surrey, , England
Age 31
Essex, England
Age 32
Putney, Surrey, , England
July 28, 1540
Age 54
Tower Hill, London, Middlesex, England