Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/103

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Cromwell
Cromwell
91

Courtonne on 6 March, of Chambrays on the 9th, and of Riviere-Thibonville on the llth (ib. pp. 265, 292, 294, 303 ; Rymer, Fœdera, ix. 549, 551-2, 554; Ramsay, Lancaster and York, i. 248, 257). He is throughout these operations styled ' chivaler,' though his father is said to have died in 1417. In May 1420 lie was one of the commissioners who assisted Henry in negotiating the peace of Troyes with the Queen of France and the Duke of Burgundy (Rymer, ix. 910).

Cromwell had during Henry Vs reign never been summoned to the privy council, though he is spoken of as taking part 'in curia nostra militari' (ib. ix. 551). But he had gained the confidence of Henry V and of his brother John, duke of Bedford, and during the minority of Henry VI he at once assumed, in spite of his youthfulness, an important position among the lords of the council. He was first summoned to parliament on 29 Sept. 1422, and in November he was one of the lords appointed in parliament to form the council of regency (Rot. Parl. iv. 175 ; Nicolas, Ord. P. C. iii. 16). Soon afterwards he was appointed chamberlain of the exchequer, and on 29 Jan. 1426 he was one of those sent to mediate with Humfrey, duke of Gloucester and reconcile him with Cardinal Beaufort. He seems to have generally sided with Beaufort against Gloucester, and on 1 March 1432, during Beaufort's absence in France, Gloucester seized the opportunity to remove the cardinal's friends from office. Cromwell lost the chamberlainship of the exchequer, and John Tiptoft, baron Tiptoft [q. v.], the stewardship of the household. In the following May he was warned not to bring more than his usual retinue to parliament, but on 16 June, following Beaufort's example, he laid his case before the House of Lords. He complained that he had been dismissed without cause shown and contrary to the ordinances of 1429, by which the council's proceedings were regulated. He appealed to testimonials from Bedford as to the value of his services in France, but an assurance that he left office without a stain on his character was all the satisfaction he could get (Rot. Parl. iv. 392 ; Stubbs, iii. 115 ; Ramsay, Lancaster and York, i. 439).

In the summer of 1433 Bedford returned to England, and during his visit the disgraced ministers were restored to power. Cromwell was made lord treasurer, and during the prorogation of parliament he 'prepared an elaborate statement of the national accounts' (Stubbs, iii. 117). This important statement was laid before parliament on 18 Oct. (Rot. Parl. iv. 433-8 ; Ramsay, i. 452), and led to various attempts at financial reform (Stubbs, iii. 118). But after the death of Bedford in 1435 Gloucester's opposition prevented any satisfactory measures. In 1436 Cromwell led a contingent to the relief of Calais, which was then besieged by the Duke of Burgundy. In the same year he was appointed master of the king's mews and falcons, and in 1441 he was one of the commissioners nominated to inquire into the alleged sorceries and witchcraft of the Duchess of Gloucester (English Chron. ed. Davies, p. 58).

In July 1443 Cromwell resigned the treasury, for reasons that are not quite clear. Possibly his resignation was due to jealousy of the rising influence of William de la Pole, first duke of Suffolk [q. v.], who now succeeded Beaufort as the most influential adviser of the king. In 1445 Cromwell was made constable of Nottingham Castle and warden of Sherwood Forest, but he does not again come prominently forward until 1449, when he led the attack on Suffolk. One of Suffolk's partisans was William Tallboys, a Lincolnshire squire, with whom Cromwell had had some local disputes (see Paston Letters, i. 96, 98) ; and on 28 Nov. 1449 as he was entering the Star-chamber Cromwell was hustled by Tallboys. Cromwell accused Tallboys and Suffolk of intending his death; they denied the charge, but Tallboys was sent to the Tower, and two months later Suffolk's connection with Tallboys was one of the charges brought against him (William Worcester, p. 766 ; Paston Letters, i. 96, 97; Rot. Parl. v. 181, 208 ; Stubbs, iii. 145 n.)

The fall of Suffolk let loose a flood of personal jealousies, and among Cromwell's enemies were Yorkists as well as Lancastrians, though he seems to have belonged to the former party. He demanded security from parliament against Henry Holland, duke of Exeter (Rot. Parl. v. 264), but he was also at enmity with Warwick (Paston Letters, i. 345). When in 1455 the Duke of York was dismissed from the protectorship Cromwell seems to have joined him, and possibly fought at the first battle of St. Albans on 22 May. In July following he was accused of treason by Robert Collinson, a priest, as having instigated 'the male journey of Seynt Albons' (ib.) Nothing seems to have come of the charge, and Cromwell died on 4 Jan. 1455-6 (ib. iii. 425).

Cromwell's will, dated at Collyweston, Northamptonshire, was proved on 19 Feb. 1455-6. He founded a college at Tattershall, where he was buried. A letter from him to Sir John Fastolf [q.v.] is printed in the 'Paston Letters' (iii. 425-6), and from the fact that Fastolf's wardrobe contained a