Were Thomas Cromwell’s reforms the most significant development in government?
Cromwell made a lot of changes in government during being chief minister for 7 years for the king. One of the main things that helped him stay in power for so long and that got him the trust and support of the king was managing to get the annulment between Henry and Catherine of Aragon which Thomas Wolsey, earlier failed to do. Cromwell was thought to have modernised the government system to the extent that Elton who is a very well respected historian said it was “revolutionary”. He reformed what used to be a very medieval style feudal system, where it was easy for one person to dominate, such as Wolsey, into a modern government, based on a bureaucracy, organised by capable people following specific rules and procedures. Cromwell was credited with two reforms of major importance. Whereas in the past, individuals who were never systematically audited and bound by procedures had received the king’s income, Cromwell introduced a bureaucratic model. In the Thomas Cromwell model, departments received money from pre-specified sources – there was meant to be no overlapping – and paid out money for reasons that had to be sanctioned first. Each department was rigorously audited. They were run the same way as the Duchy of Lancaster was. This had been set up to administer the lands and rights that had come to the crown from the house of Lancaster. The two most famous departments (the Court of Augmentations and the Court of First Fruits and Tenths) were created to look after Henry’s income from the Church following the dissolution of the monasteries. Because they had legal status to adjudicate over disputes, they were given the title ‘court’. The second major reform introduced by Cromwell was the Privy Council. Previous to this, a council had existed that was made up of up to 100 men to advise the king. However, very few of them ever attended and the system usually ended up with one strong man...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document