[From the archives] Diarmaid MacCulloch: Thomas Cromwell (1536)

It’s midwinter, we’re midway through our sixth season and we thought it was time to revisit a favourite old episode. Today we have for you a recording made at Buxton Literary Festival in 2019. It is with the Oxford professor and prize-winning historian Diarmaid MacCulloch. Our destination is the year 1536 and our subject is one of the most complex and fascinating in English political history: Thomas Cromwell. == Thomas Cromwell, a self-described “ruffian”, was King Henry VIII’s chief minister in the 1530s. He was clever, driven and ruthless, qualities that have captivated novelists and historians for generations as they have attempted to capture his mysterious essence. The year 1536 saw Cromwell at the peak of his career. As chief administrator of the realm he had vast and wide-ranging powers, but he also had enemies. Prominent among these, as we hear in this episode, was the King’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. Thomas Cromwell: A Life by Thomas Cromwell by Diarmaid MacCulloch is now available in paperback from Penguin. Show notes Scene One: 24 May 1536. Ambassador Eustache Chapuys and Thomas Cromwell debriefing after the execution of Anne Boleyn. Scene Two: Around 3 October 1536 when King Henry VIII was told of the Lincolnshire Rising. Scene Three: 22 December 1536. Thomas Cromwell sits in his house at the Rolls listening to the sounds of the magnificent procession of the King from Whitehall to Greenwich down Fleet Street. Memento: The keyboard that Mark Smeaton played for Anne Boleyn People Presenter: Peter Moore Guest: Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch Recording/Live Mix: Hannah Griffiths Post production: Maria Nolan

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In each episode we ask a leading historian, novelist or public figure the tantalising question, "If you could travel back through time, which year would you visit?" Once they have made their choice, then they guide us through that year in three telling scenes. We have visited Pompeii in 79AD, Jerusalem in 1187, the Tower of London in 1483, Colonial America in 1776, 10 Downing Street in 1940 and the Moon in 1969. Chosen as one of the Evening Standard's Best History Podcasts of 2020. Presented weekly by Sunday Times bestselling writer Peter Moore, award-winning historian Violet Moller and Artemis Irvine.