Part 4, Chapter 1 Summary

Cromwell informs Katherine of Aragon that she is to be moved to Hertfordshire since the king is now the head of the church in England. This law has been amended to say “as far as the law of Christ allows.” Katherine is upset, as is her daughter, Princess Mary. Cromwell warns the queen that she and Mary might be separated if she resists.

Cromwell visits Anne Boleyn, and they gossip about the family of one of her ladies-in-waiting, Jane Seymour of Wolf Hall. Bishop Fisher of Rochester was the target of an assassination attempt when someone tried to poison the broth at a banquet he was giving. The cook said that someone gave him a packet of white powder to put in the broth as a joke, but the cook was boiled alive anyway. William Tyndale is still a target for his Protestant writings.

Cromwell and Liz’s sister Johane confess that they are in love with each other, although Cromwell knows it is because Johane reminds him so much of his late wife. As is evident from King Henry’s suit to get a divorce from Katherine, it is necessary to get a papal dispensation for a man to marry his wife’s sister. Johane speculates that when Henry is the head of the church in England, he will be able to grant them the right to marry. Cromwell is skeptical.

Stephen Gardiner, Cromwell’s personal enemy, is made Bishop of Winchester, one of the most powerful posts in England. Immediately Gardiner is sent to France as an envoy to King Francis to encourage him to support the king’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Previously, this post had been held by Sir Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, but Gardiner is hoped to be more effective as a “neutral” participant.

Henry Wyatt, a favorite at the king’s court, tells the Cromwell children tales of his past as a prisoner of King Richard III and his adventures with a lion. Little Bilney, a Protestant scholar, is burned at the stake for passing out William Tyndale’s English translation of the New Testament. Wyatt’s son Thomas is rumored to be one of Anne Boleyn’s many lovers. He is also known to be one of Tyndale’s followers and the one who has instructed Anne in Tyndale’s teachings.

Cromwell is awakened with the news that Thomas has been taken up for his beliefs. Cromwell thinks that Thomas More has reached too far into Anne’s inner circle and wonders if More expects to arrest the king himself, who also has been reading the “heretical” writings of Luther and other Protestants. It turns out that Thomas is only drunk from celebrating New Year's.