Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex (1485-1540) English lawyer, statesman and chief minister to King Henry VIII
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex KG PC (c.1485 – 28 July 1540) was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540. Cromwell was one of the strongest and most powerful advocates of the English Reformation. He helped to engineer an annulment of the king’s marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon so that Henry could lawfully marry Anne Boleyn. Henry failed to obtain the Pope’s approval for the annulment in 1534, so Parliament endorsed the king’s claim to be Supreme Head of the Church of England, giving him the authority to annul his own marriage. Cromwell subsequently charted an evangelical and reformist course for the Church of England from the unique posts of vicegerent in spirituals and vicar-general.
Engraved by Phillibrown after the portrait by Hans Holbein for ‘Lodge’s Portraits of Illustrious Personages of Great Britain’ by Edmund Lodge FSA. Published by Bohn, London 1849.
Image size approx. 71 x 93.