A discussion on how well Henry VIII was served by his ministers, focusing on the roles of Wolsey and Cromwell, with a brief look at the lesser lights of Henry’s reign, More, Fox, Warham and Gardiner.
The following paper examines how well Wolsey and Cromwell supported Henry’s ambitions to be a great and grand king. The writer argues that Wolsey’s role was to administer, whereas Cromwell reformed and created, and it was mainly due to his efforts that the reign of Henry VIII is seen as a critical point in the transition from medieval to modern government.
A succession of ministers served Henry VIII during his reign, although today only two, possibly three, names come to mind. Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell were the two pre-eminent servants of Henry’s reign with others such as Fox, Warham and Gardiner taking a lesser role. Sir Thomas More is possibly better known today for a modern play about him than for what he achieved in three years as Lord Chancellor after Wolsey’s fall.