Part 6, Chapter 2 Summary
Pope Clement is dead, and the people of Rome break into his tomb and drag his naked body through the streets. Cromwell is made Master of the Rolls. He is accumulating property around the country. Many of Cromwell’s family are moving out of Austin Friars as they form families of their own. He misses his wife Liz and their two daughters as the house begins to empty.
King Henry becomes paranoid, fearful that Katherine will raise a rebellion against him. He is extremely unpopular in Ireland.
Thomas More, who is not faring well under house arrest, is required to swear to the Act of Supremacy, which names the king as the Head of the Church of England. He refuses and is no longer allowed to have visitors. All his goods are forfeited to the Crown.
Mary Boleyn is pregnant, and Henry swears it is not his child. Mary says the father is William Stafford, whom she has married. Anne is suspicious and rejects her sister. It is Jane Rochford, the wife of Anne and Mary’s brother George, who exposed Mary. In retaliation, Mary rejects Jane with the support of Jane Seymour, her lady-in-waiting. Anne further suspects that Henry is now sleeping with Mistress Shelton.
From her exile in Kent, Mary Boleyn writes to Cromwell to ask for money. Cromwell plans to force her father to give her an annuity. Thomas More’s wife Alice speaks of More’s self-flagellation and monkish tendencies.
Cromwell receives a newly created title, Viceregent of Spirituals, giving him the power to shut down the monasteries and claim their riches for the Crown. Chapuys, the ambassador for the Emperor, announces that Lady Mary, the daughter of Katherine of Aragon, is ill.
Cromwell himself falls ill, causing everyone to worry that he is at the point of death. The king comes to visit him, even though he had fled his beloved Anne when she had the sweating sickness. He spends the day with the Cromwell family, mainly talking about his own childhood. The women are impressed with his charm and consideration.
The pope makes Bishop Fisher the new cardinal of England, but Henry orders him executed for treason. Four monks also are sent to their death by public disembowelment.
Thomas More is ordered at last to be put on trial. Cromwell visits him in his rooms in the Tower of London. He looks emaciated, having starved himself. When More is brought into Westminster Hall for the trial, the people are shocked by his appearance, wondering if he has been ill treated.