Wolsey, Thomas

Wolsey, Thomas
(c. 1474–1530)
   Cardinal and Politician.
   Wolsey was born in Ipswich and he was educated at the University of Oxford. He enjoyed a meteoric rise in both the Church and the State. He became chaplain to King Henry VII in 1507, a Privy Counsellor to King Henry VIII in 1511, Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of York in 1514 and a Cardinal and Chancellor of England in 1515. He even had ambitions to be elected Pope and at one stage this did not seem an impossibility. He enjoyed the King’s trust and favour until he proved unable to obtain the dispensation necessary to dissolve the royal marriage. Henry’s ruthlessness proved greater even than his own. In 1529 he was forced to resign the Chancellorship and give up his property (which included the newly built palace of Hampton Court) and he was only spared from answering a charge of high treason by dying on the road to London. Wolsey is remembered for successfully establishing Tudor absolutism, for effectively holding the balance of power between France and the Holy Roman Empire and as the founder of Christ Church College, Oxford.
   G.R. Elton, The Tudor Revoluton in Government (1953);
   S.J. Gunn and P.G. Lindley, Cardinal Wolsey and the Church (1991);
   J.J. Scarisbrick, Henry VIII (1968).

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