c.1485-1540. English statesman. In early life he traveled widely, and his varied adventures produced a mind essentially functional and secular, and with considerable business and legal acumen. From 1520 he served under Wolsey* and survived his master's disgrace to enter Parliament in 1529. There he quickly made his mark and, though debate surrounds his precise contribution to 's policies, it is clear that from 1532, when first he held high office, there is an ordered, creative intelligence not previously evident. The Henrician Statutes bear his stamp and especially the Act in Restraint of Appeals (1533), which is a concise statement of Erastian* principles held by Cromwell and culled from Marsiglio of Padua. By 1535 Cromwell was vicar-general and thus the effective controller of the church. The Valor Ecclesiasticus, which attempts to estimate the income of every cleric, is a typical example of his administrative genius. He maneuvered the Dissolution of the Monasteries. He was created earl of Essex in 1540.
Cromwell's religious policies demonstrate a sympathy for Lutheran ideas. In particular he encouraged the translation of the Bible leading to the publishing of the
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