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Thomas Cromwell Oliver Cromwell, dissolution and civil war

 
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:23 pm    Post subject: Thomas Cromwell Oliver Cromwell, dissolution and civil war Reply with quote

Have you ever wondered whether the two important Cromwells in British history were related?
Henry VIII's chief minister Thomas Cromwell who administered the takeover and sell-off, or dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s...
and Oliver Cromwell, Puritan, roundhead & general of the parliamentary army in the 1640s English Civil war...
Yes, indeed they were.

Oliver's great-great-grandfather, Morgan Williams, had married Thomas Cromwell's sister Katherine in 1497. Their three sons, Richard, another Richard and Walter, began the practice of calling themselves Cromwell in place of their true surname of Williams, in honour of their famous maternal uncle.

Thomas Cromwell's older sister Katharine and her husband Morgan Williams, a Welsh lawyer, had a son, Richard, who later served in Thomas's household and changed his surname to Cromwell. Oliver Cromwell was Richard's great-grandson.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/11375601/who-was-thomas- cromwell-facts-trivia-wolf-hall.html

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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The closing down of monasteries was not new. Cardinal Wolsey shut down a number of religious houses years before the attack by Cromwell and Henry. He had done this with the full blessing of the Pope as some of the religious houses in England had ‘decayed’ – the lack of people in them had stopped them being effective. When he closed them, Wolsey used the money raised from them for charitable purposes, including the building of a new grammar school in Ipswich. The man who did the legal work for this was Thomas Cromwell and the records indicate that what was done did not concern anyone of importance at the time.

The whole approach to religious houses changed in 1535. Cromwell, now Henry’s vicegerent responsible for the day-to-day running of the Church, ordered that all religious houses should be visited by one of his representatives. Traditionally either a local bishop or a senior member of the order concerned had done these visits. Their task was to check on standards etc. Now Cromwell ordered that his men should do them.

In the same year, the ‘Valor Ecclesiasticus’ was introduced. This was a full-scale undertaking to examine just how much property was owned by the Church in England and Wales. The findings proved to be of great importance to Cromwell even though questions have to be asked as to the accuracy of the reports that were fed back to Cromwell. Those who did the investigating were unpaid local gentry who would have been in a prime position to make out of any attack on religious houses in their locality.#

https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/tudor-england/the-dissolution-of -the-monasteries/

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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In his late teens Cromwell travelled to Italy. He became a soldier and fought at the Battle of Garigliano on 28th December 1503. The following year he joined the household of the merchant banker Francesco Frescobaldi. (2) The Italian novelist Matteo Bandello tells how the destitute Cromwell confronted Frescobaldi in Florence, begging for his assistance. "Frescobaldi is said instantly to have taken pity on him and invited him to stay in his household, where he provided clothes and money. Bandello also records that when Cromwell decided to return to England, Frescobaldi gave him sixteen gold ducats and a strong horse." (3)

Thomas Cromwell - Cloth Merchant
Cromwell did not go home and instead went to the Netherlands, where he worked as a cloth merchant. Over the next couple of years Cromwell certainly visited leading mercantile centres as Antwerp and Bruges. There he learned his trade living among the English merchants and was able to develop an important network of contacts, as well as learning several languages, including German, French and Italian.

https://spartacus-educational.com/TUDcromwell.htm

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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dissolution of the Monasteries
In January 1535, Thomas Cromwell was appointed as Vicar-General. This made him the King's deputy as Supreme Head of the Church. He had been a secret supporter of religious reformers such as William Tyndale, Robert Barnes, Richard Bayfield, Thomas Bilney, John Bradford, Simon Fish, John Frith, Miles Coverdale, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, John Rogers and Nicholas Shaxton and over the next few years he used his power to make changes to the Church.

On 3rd June 1535, Cromwell sent a letter to all the bishops ordering them to preach in support of the supremacy, and to ensure that the clergy in their dioceses did so as well. A week later he sent further letters to Justices of Peace ordering them to report any instances of his instructions being disobeyed. In the following month he turned his attention to the monasteries. In September he suspended the authority of every bishop in the country so that the six canon lawyers he had appointed as his agents could complete their surveys of the monasteries. (16)

Cromwell provided his agents with eighty-six questions. This included: "Whether the divine service was kept up, day and night, in the right hours?"; "Whether they (monks) kept company with women, within or without the monastery?"; "Whether they had any boys lying by them?; "Whether any of the brethren were incorrigible?" "Whether you do wear your religious habit continually, and never leave it off but when you go to bed?" (17)

At the time there were 563 religious houses in England and Wales, populated by 7,000 monks and 2,000 nuns. There were also 35,000 lay brethren (servants) that did most of the manual labour. (1Cool The survey revealed that the total annual income of all the monasteries was about £165,500. The eleven thousand monks and nuns in this institutions also controlled about a quarter of all the cultivated land in England. The six lawyers provided detailed reports on the monasteries. According to David Starkey: "Their subsequent reports concentrated on two areas: the sexual failings of the monks, on which subject the visitors managed to combine intense disapproval with lip-smacking detail, and the false miracles and relics, of which they gave equally gloating accounts." (19)

Cromwell was shocked when the reports came back. It was claimed that William Thirsk, the abbott of Fountains Abbey was guilty of "theft and sacrilege, stealing and selling the valuables of the abbey and wasting the wood, cattle, etc of the estates". He was also claimed that he kept "six whores". The canons of Leicester Abbey were accused of homosexuality. The prior of Crutched Friars was found in bed with a woman at eleven o'clock on a Friday morning. The abbot of West Langdon Abbey was described as the "drunkenest knave living." (20)

Nuns were also criticised in these reports. The agent who visited the Lampley Nunnery claimed that "Mariana Wryte had given birth three times, and Johanna Snaden, six". At the religious house in Lichfield "two of the nuns were with child". Elizabeth Shelly, the Benedictine Abbess of St Mary's Abbey and Christabel Cowper, Benedictine Prioress of Marrick Priory, both received good reports but forty-three nunneries, more than one third of the whole, were threatened with being closed. (21)

Thomas Cromwell
Thomas Cromwell by unknown artist (c. 1536)
Thomas Cromwell's first reaction to the reports was to remove the person in charge of the monastery. For example, when the prior of Winchester Cathedral Priory resigned, the visitor, Thomas Parry, suggested he should be replaced by William Basing, a monk of the house of the "better sort", as his replacement. Cromwell was aware that Basing was a reformer who "favoured the truth" and acted upon his advice.

William Thirsk, the abbott of Fountains Abbey was replaced by Marmaduke Bradley who was a "right apt man" for the post. However, Cromwell had difficulty finding enough monks committed to reform, to take over the running of the monasteries. As David Loades has pointed out: "Cromwell's policy towards religious houses underwent a subtle shift of emphasis. From trying to make sure that abbots and priors of a reforming disposition were appointed, he now began to seek for those who would make no difficulty about surrendering their responsibilities. Admittedly these were often the same men, because the task of converting obstinately conservative monks and friars not only proved uncongenial but usually impossible, and those religious of a reforming turn of mind were often the first to seek escape from the imprisonment of their orders."

https://spartacus-educational.com/TUDmonasteries.htm

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