Thomas Cromwell (January 1, 1485? – July 28, 1540)
(Why are they all shown holding a piece of paper in one hand?) I was hesitating to write about this ‘architect’ of the Anglican Church, mainly because no one knows his exact birth date; the year is known, but the rest is fuzzy. One astrology site decided that January 1st would do, since no one really looks at these charts as being real, anyway. I’ve gone with that date, just to demonstrate how wrong is can be.
The chart was originally set @ 8:00 am, but that made a nonsense of timing, so I rectified it to 12:15 pm so that his marriage (Venus) at age 30 would be highlighted. Even if the date was wrong, we still get a glimpse of Cromwell’s lucky streak, starting with Saturn in Scorpio (7th house) through to the Sun in Capricorn (conjunct the 9th house cusp). He had a ‘good innings’.
“Cromwell successfully overcame the shadow cast over his career by Wolsey’s downfall. By November 1529, he had secured a seat in Parliament as a member for Taunton and was reported to be in favour with the King. Early in this short session of Parliament (November to December 1529) Cromwell involved himself with legislation to restrict absentee clergy from collecting stipends from multiple parishes (“clerical farming”) and to abolish the power of Rome to award dispensations for the practice.
“At some point during the closing weeks of 1530, the King appointed him to the Privy Council. Cromwell held numerous offices during his career in the King’s service, including:
Thomas Cromwell, c. 1532–3, attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger
- Commissioner for the Subsidy, London 1524, Kent 1534, for printing of the Bible 1539, for sale of crown lands 1539, 1540
- Master of King’s Jewel House jointly with Sir John Williams 14 April 1532, c. 1533–1540
- Clerk of the Hanaper 16 July 1532, jointly with Ralph Sadler Apr. 1535–1540
- Chancellor of the Exchequer 12 April 1533 – 1540
- Recorder, Bristol 1533–1540
- Steward, Westminster Abbey 12 September 1533, jointly with Robert Wroth 14 February 1534 – May 1535
- Lordships of Edmonton and Sayesbery, Middlesex May 1535, of Havering-atte-Bower, Essex December 1537 manor of Writtle, Essex June 1536, Honour of Rayleigh, Essex September 1539
- Surveyor of the King’s Woods, jointly with Sir William Paulet by 1533
- Principal Secretary c. April 1534 – April 1540
- Master of the Rolls 8 October 1534 – 10 July 1536
- Constable jointly with Richard Williams (alias Cromwell) of Hertford Castle, Hertfordshire 1534–1540, Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire 1535–d., sole, Leeds Castle, Kent 4 January 1539 – 1540
- Visitor-General of the Monasteries 21 January 1535
- Steward, Duchy of Lancaster, Essex, Hertfordshire and Middlesex 12 May 1535 – 1540
- Steward of Savoy Manor May 1535 – 1540
- Chancellor, High Steward and Visitor, Cambridge University 1535–1540
- Commissioner for the Peace, Bristol, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey 1535–1540, Essex 1536–1540, Derbyshire, Westmorland 1537–1540, all counties 1538–1540
- Prebendary of Salisbury, May 1536 – 1540
- Receiver of Petitions in the Lords, Parliament of 1536
- Trier, Parliament of 1539
- Lord Privy Seal, 2 July 1536 – 1540
- Vicar General and Vicegerent of the King in spirituals, 18 July 1536
- Dean of Wells, 1537–1540
- Warden and Chief Justice in Eyre, North of Trent, 30 December 1537 – 1540
- Governor of the Isle of Wight, 2 November 1538 – 1540
- Great Chamberlain, 17 April 1540
as well as numerous minor offices.” (Royal Favourite from Wikipedia)
With all that was going on, I wonder how he managed to keep his head on straight; no, wait, he lost it in the end.
Of the two charts, this is the only one that we can be fairly certain of its accuracy. Usually, executions happen early in the morning, sometime after dawn. But, just for fun, I thought that Mars would be on the horizon (i.e. conjunct the Ascendant), so I moved the clock to 11:35 am local time.
Notice how Pluto in Aquarius is in opposition to the Midheaven, Mercury, Jupiter, the Sun, and Uranus, all in Leo. The system was stacked against him, he didn’t stand a chance in hell. It has been noted that later, Henry VIII regretted losing such a valuable member of his government.
“Cromwell was condemned to death without trial, lost all his titles and property and was publicly beheaded on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540, on the same day as the King’s marriage to Catherine Howard. Cromwell made a prayer and speech on the scaffold, professing to die, ‘in the traditional faith’ [Catholic] and denying that he had aided heretics. This was a necessary disavowal, to protect his family. The circumstances of his execution are a source of debate: whilst some accounts state that the executioner had great difficulty severing the head, others claim that this is apocryphal and that it took only one blow. Afterwards, his head was set on a spike on London Bridge.
“Hall said of Cromwell’s downfall,
Many lamented but more rejoiced, and specially such as either had been religious men, or favoured religious persons; for they banqueted and triumphed together that night, many wishing that that day had been seven years before; and some fearing lest he should escape, although he were imprisoned, could not be merry. Others who knew nothing but truth by him both lamented him and heartily prayed for him. But this is true that of certain of the clergy he was detestably hated, & specially of such as had borne swynge [beaten hard], and by his means was put from it; for in deed he was a man that in all his doings seemed not to favour any kind of Popery, nor could not abide the snoffyng pride of some prelates, which undoubtedly, whatsoever else was the cause of his death, did shorten his life and procured the end that he was brought unto.
“Henry came to regret Cromwell’s killing and later accused his ministers of bringing about Cromwell’s downfall by ‘pretexts’ and ‘false accusations’. On 3 March 1541, the French Ambassador, Charles de Marillac, reported in a letter that the King was now said to be lamenting that,
under pretext of some slight offences which he had committed, they had brought several accusations against him, on the strength of which he had put to death the most faithful servant he ever had.
“There remains an element of what G. R. Elton describes as ‘mystery’ about Cromwell’s demise. In April 1540, just three months before he went to the block, he was created Earl of Essex and Lord Great Chamberlain. The arbitrary and unpredictable streak in the King’s personality, which more than once exercised influence during his reign, had surfaced again and washed Cromwell away in its wake.
“During Cromwell’s years in power, he skilfully managed Crown finances and extended royal authority. In 1536, he established the Court of Augmentations to handle the massive windfall to the royal coffers from the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Two other important financial institutions, the Court of Wards and the Court of First Fruits and Tenths, owed their existence to him, although they were not set up until after his death. He strengthened royal authority in the north of England, through reform of the Council of the North, extended royal power and introduced Protestantism in Ireland, and was the architect of the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, which promoted stability and gained acceptance for the royal supremacy in Wales. He also introduced important social and economic reforms in England in the 1530s, including action against enclosures, the promotion of English cloth exports and the poor relief legislation of 1536.” (Wikipedia)
Did he deserve the ending that he got? Probably not. But when one raises one’s head above the parapet, someone else is always willing to take a shot at it. Perhaps Cromwell was just too successful, and envy brought him down. At any rate, he engineered the start of the Church of England, to accommodate his King’s wish to sire an heir to the British throne.
Maybe he should have stayed out of the King’s bedroom (and perhaps his family, too).