Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Cromwell Thomas

Cromwell, Thomas, Earl of Essex, alleged to have been the son of a blacksmith, was born at Putney in 1490. His youth was spent abroad in commercial pursuits, and on his return he entered Wolsey's service, remaining faithful to him to the end, but having, according to some observers, a keen eye to his own interests. Before his protector's death he won the favour of the king by judiciously setting forth his plan for detaching the English Church from the control of the Papal See. Henry found him a zealous and unscrupulous agent in the promotion of the divorce and the suppression of the monasteries, and he heaped upon him offices and rewards, finally raising him to the peerage as Earl of Essex and giving him the Garter. During seven years his policy had a free hand, and his rapacity and tyranny were exercised without restraint. He tacitly encouraged Protestantism, not from any conviction, but to assist in breaking the tie with Rome, and for similar reasons, but partly also to strengthen his own position, he involved himself in negotiations with the German Courts and induced the king to marry Anne of Cleves. This piece of work proved his undoing. Hated alike by the people, the nobles, and the priests, he was denounced to Henry, who had by this time exhausted the need for his services, and was indignant at the matrimonial venture into which he had been entrapped. His fall was instantaneous. The Duke of Norfolk accused him of treason in the Council Chamber. He was hurried to the Tower, condemned by a bill of attainder, and beheaded on July 28, 1540.