The role of Wolsey to 1529 and his relations with Henry, nobility and Parliament

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  • The role of Wolsey to 1529 and his relations with Henry, nobility and Parliament
    • Background
      • Lowly origins
        • Made him unpopular with Nobility
        • Never a threat to the King
      • Royal Almoner for Henry VII
        • Worked for Henry's father - distributed food + money to poor on King's behalf
      • 1513
        • Main organiser of Henry's French expedition
      • 1514
        • Became Bishop of Lincoln + Tornai and Archbishop of York
      • 1515
        • Made Chancellor of England + Cardinal of Roman Catholic Church
      • 1524
        • Pope made him Legate a Latere for life
      • 1529
        • Dismissed as Chancellor + sent to York
          • Died 1530 on way to London to stand trial for praemunire
    • Why the King gave him so much power
      • Henry wanted to have fun, not run a government
        • He was a young King with secure position
        • Enjoyed hunting, sports, feasting, music
      • Henry wished to enhance his position in Europe
        • Wolsey would help him do this - handled politics
      • Henry wanted to concern himself wit pursuit of military aventures
    • Reasons for success
      • A very able man
        • Favoured the poor but ruled wisely + fairly
        • He got results
      • Got on well with Henry
        • Good personal + work relationship
        • Convenient scapegoat if something went wrong
      • Unique accumulation of offices
        • He was a pluralist
          • Wolsey = Alter rex (a lot of power + influence)
            • Operated like Henry but scope of authority more limited
    • Relations with nobility
      • After 1513 they became less influential in government
        • Wolsey elevated to chief minister in Church + State
          • Wolsey = Alter rex (a lot of power + influence)
            • Operated like Henry but scope of authority more limited
      • Often excluded from real power
      • Did not like Wolsey as he was of low birth
        • But they understood his importance to Henry
          • Would not risk upsetting the King
          • Wolsey was better at flattering Henry
            • It was Henry who brought Wolsey down over issue of annulment
    • Achievement in Domestic Policy 1514-1529
      • Task was to make government run smoothly
        • Had to eradicate unhelpful methods used by Henry VII
          • Wolsey saw himself as restoring 'good government'
      • No serious rebellions or uprisings
        • There had been many undder Henry VII
      • Wolsey was not all powerful
        • He cannot be blamed for failures
          • Instead Henry's lack of interest should be blamed
      • Demotion of the King's Council
        • Wolsey's good relations with Henry meant they were no longer required
    • Law
      • Court of Chancery
        • Wolsey presided over this (as Chancellor)
        • Law of equity (not common law)
        • Wolsey had little or no legal training
          • Cases not usually high profile
      • Court of Star Chamber
        • Criminal court
        • Wolsey presided with members of King's council
        • Wolsey enforced law partially
          • Heard of low of poor men's cases
    • Crown finances
      • Henry VIII wanted to fight more battles than his father
        • He quickly used his inheritance + Wolsey had to find more money
      • Subsidy
        • Tax based on income not property
        • Replaced Fifteenths + Tenths
      • Forced Loans
        • Traditional extraordinary tax
      • Amicable Grant 1525
        • Withdrawn after uprisings n East Anglia
          • Wolsey blamed by Henry
    • Enclosures
      • Inquiries launched 1517, 1518 + 1526
        • Used for sheep farming
          • Wolsey acted within the law, attempted to help the poor (their land was being taken)
          • Hard to actually enforce rules

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