Thomas Wolsey

Thomas Wolsey

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From 1515 through 1529, Thomas Wolsey, an English cardinal and statesman, ruled King Henry VIII. Wolsey, son of an Ipswich butcher, graduated from Oxford. At 25, he was ordained a priest and became the archbishop’s chaplain. King Henry VII later made him royal chaplain and sent him on diplomatic trips. With the accession of King Henry VIII to the throne, Wolsey’s swift rise to power began. Wolsey became York’s archbishop, then a Cardinal, and finally the King’s Lord Chancellor. Wolsey’s control was uncontested for a decade, and Henry VIII handed more governmental duties to him. Wolsey’s abrupt demise came after he failed to utilize his influence to get Henry’s marriage annulled. Henry wanted to divorce the queen so he might remarry and have a son, but Wolsey was unable to do so and was deposed. He was soon imprisoned for treason and died on his way to London to stand trial.

Early Childhood of Thomas Wolsey

The butcher Robert Wolsey and his wife Joan Daundy had a son named Thomas Wolsey in March 1473.
He attended Ipswich School and Magdalen College School before studying theology at Magdalen College, Oxford. He graduated at 15 with a BA.
In March 1498, he was ordained in Wiltshire. He thereafter became Master of Magdalen College School and Dean of Divinity.

Ageing of Thomas Wolsey

In 1502, he became Archbishop Henry Deane’s chaplain. Sir Richard Nanfan, Calais’ deputy, named Wolsey chaplain after Deane died the next year. Nanfan introduced Wolsey to the court.
In 1507, King Henry VII made Wolsey his royal chaplain. The following year, Henry VII sent Wolsey to Scotland and the Netherlands.

Wolsey became dean of Lincoln in 1509, just before the King died.
Henry VIII inherited the throne in 1509 and made Wolsey Almoner. This post gave Wolsey a seat on the Privy Council and a chance to win the new King’s trust.

After Wolsey planned Henry’s expedition against the French in 1513, the two men’s bonds grew even closer. That year, England held the balance of power between France and the Hapsburgs after signing the Wolsey Treaty.
Wolsey quickly rose in the Church due to his natural abilities and dedication. On Henry’s advice, Wolsey was made Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of York in 1514.

Wolsey was made a cardinal the next year and appointed Lord Chancellor of England by King Henry VIII in December 1515. Wolsey became the Papal Legate in England in 1518. His efforts resulted in the Treaty of London, an international peace treaty involving all European governments.

In 1520, Wolsey engineered a meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I of France on the ‘Field of the Cloth of Gold’ in Flanders. Wolsey later allied with Spain’s Emperor Charles V and signed the Bruges Treaty (1521), pledging English backing for Spain in a battle with France.

Wolsey signed the ‘Treaty of the More’ with France in 1525 to challenge Spain after Charles V kidnapped Francis I. Wolsey fell when the French made peace with Charles in 1529.
King Henry VIII desired an annulment with his wife, Catherine of Aragon, Charles V’s aunt. As there being no male heir, Henry intended to be free and remarry.

But Wolsey couldn’t get Charles V’s emperor, Pope Clement VII, to invalidate Henry’s marriage to the Queen. Worse, Wolsey was deprived of all his offices except York and compelled to depart London in July 1529.
Wolsey’s adversaries in England later convinced Henry that Wolsey was plotting to reclaim his power. So Wolsey was arrested for treason in Yorkshire but died in London.

Grandiose of Thomas Wolsey

He established a grammar school in Ipswich and Cardinal’s College at Oxford, after winning papal authority to dissolve numerous decaying monasteries.

Personal Legacy of Thomas Wolsey

Wolsey lived with Joan Larke for almost a decade without marrying her. He had two children, Thomas Wynter, a son, and Dorothy, a daughter.
Wolsey was accused of treason in 1529 while traveling to Yorkshire after losing his job. He was next dispatched to London, but took ill on the way and died on November 29, 1530, at the age of 57.

Estimated Net Worth

Estimated net worth of Thomas Wolsey is unknown.