Lot 2
  • 2

Cromwell, Thomas.

bidding is closed


  • Cromwell, Thomas.
Letter signed ("Your assuryd ffreend Thomas Crumwell") 


From Volume XXXI of the Manuscripts in Towneley Hall, Lancashire, which were dispersed by sales beginning in the 1880s. Recorded in the Fourth Report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, Appendix (1874), pp.412-13; [Calendar of] Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII, vol, XIV, part 2 (1895), p.137, No.394. Another part of Towneley MS XXXI is in Cambridge University Library.


Roger Bigelow Merriman, Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell (2 vols, 1902, rptd 1968), vol. II, pp.238-9.

Catalogue Note

...by this berer yow shall receyve the kinges highnes lettres conteynyng his graces most gentle and princely affection towardes the Duke of Cleves, with his graces divise for thencrease of their amytie which his highnes doubteth not but yow woll so discreately handel and setfurthe as the same shall take effect wherin I assure yow yow shall doo the thing that shalbe muche to his Majestes contentacion and consequently not a Lyttel to your owne commoditie...handle the matier soo that...the Duke...taketh his graces most kynde offer in most thankfull parte and that his sute and desire is that it may please his highnes to procede...with all possible diligence and yet tempering the compassing of this purpose soo as they gather none occasion to thinke that this offre implyeth any other purpose thenne is expressed for that myghte cause them to take the same in lesse thankfull parte then it is woorthie/ I have directyd my lettres of congratulacion to my ladie Annes grace whereby I doo exhorte her to the nurrishement of the amytie bitweyn those princes to the greate honor bothe of the kinges Majestie hir owne, and to the assuraunce of them and of their issew and posteritie...I doubte not but yow wooll so setfourthe the kinges Majestes presentes withe goode and modest woords as the same shalbe by your discrecion the more acceptable...

a remarkable diplomatic letter about the furtherance of the fourth of henry viii's six marriages by the man chiefly responsible for it

Thomas Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal, was instrumental in pressing for an alliance with Wilhelm, Duke of Cleves, in Westphalia, and in encouraging Henry VIII to take to wife the Duke's sister, Anne, a marriage that had originally been mooted by the ambassador John Hutton in 1537. The King agreed to enter negotiations and, in March 1539 he and Cromwell sent to Cleves a three-man delegation headed by the ecclesiastical lawyer and royal chaplain Dr Nicholas Wotton (c.1497-1567). By the late summer the negotiations had borne fruit and Holbein was commissioned to send the King a portrait of Anne, which Wotton declared was a true likeness. By 4 October a marriage treaty was signed in London by the Cleves ambassadors. It remained for Wotton only to make final arrangements in Cleves, including conveying the King's generous offer to forego Anne's dowry of 100,000 gold florins. The present letter is a set of encouraging instructions to Wotton, for matters of final diplomatic finessing. Though anxious to iron out remaining details, Cromwell is confident of the success of the mission and to some extent basking in the current favour of a King eager to settle the marriage and to see his new bride.