Yesterday’s vote between Anne Boleyn and John Cheke was an exciting one, with more people than ever voting for their favorite contestant! At midnight, Anne Boleyn came away with the majority of the vote, and she will advance to the next round of competition. Both of today’s competitors managed to hold onto their heads, even unto death. In a match-up between Thomas Wriothesley and Richard Cox, who will you choose?
Date: December 21, 1505 – July 30, 1550
Brief blurb: Wriothesley was a major player in the Tudor political game from the time of Henry VIII up until his natural death during the reign of Edward VI. His education was gained at the sides of Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell, with whom he was politically active in the King’s Great Matter, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and in the suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace.
Strengths: Due to his assistance in the above mentioned matters of the King, Wolsey was greatly rewarded. With knighthood came his rise to personal secretary to Henry VIII in 1540, and by 1544 he was named Lord Chancellor of England. Even when Thomas Cromwell fell from grace, Wriothesley continued to enjoy the king’s favor. He easily found himself named Earl of Southampton at the beginning of Edward VI’s reign, and was one of the conspirator’s behind the Lord Protector’s (Edward Seymour’s) downfall.
Weaknesses: Wriothesley gained a bad reputation thanks in part to his supposed actions during the containment of Anne Askew. In an attempt to make Askew share her knowledge, it was reported that he himself tightened the rack to torture her. Additionally, he was unable to maintain his hold over the Lord Chancellorship upon Henry’s death.
Manner of Death: Natural
Date: ?? – July 22, 1581
Brief blurb: Educated at both Cambridge and Oxford, Cox went on to play a significant religious role in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Elizabeth I. Cox implemented the new religious reforms of Henry VIII and served as Prince Edward’s almoner and instructor, was a chancellor to Thomas Cranmer under Edward VI, took on John Knox while abroad during the reign of Mary I, and became Bishop of Ely under Elizabeth I.
Strengths: Cox could be a formidable opponent. His appointment as Cranmer’s chancellor was partly due to his efforts to uncover a plot to remove Cranmer as archbishop. As an exile during the reign of Mary I, he triumphed over John Knox by having his opponent thrown out of Frankfurt.
Weaknesses: Cox is described as fairly intolerant, having no patience for either Roman Catholics or Puritans. However, a majority of people at this time were very rigid in their religious beliefs. His argumentative personality occasionally put him at odds with Elizabeth. It is to Cox that a very famous, although apocryphal, speech of Elizabeth’s was aimed at: “Proud Prelate, You know what you were before I made you what you are. If you do not immediately comply with my request, I will unfrock you, by God!”
Manner of Death: Natural (and a very old life this one had, too!)