Wolsey System of Government

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  • Wolsey System of Government
    • Wolsey's Positions of Power
      • Lord Chancellor
        • Top political position in the royal government
          • A member of both the royal court and council and was in charge of the administration of the realm
      • Cardinal and Papal Legate
        • Meant Wolsey could be rewarded by Church living and did not make demands on the royal purse
        • Cardinal 1515 made him the highest ranking member of the church
        • Pope's representative in England
        • Allowed him to appoint clerical officers and control patronage of the church
      • Alter Rex
        • Routine business was placed on Wolsey's hands while Henry played sports
        • Wolsey's palace at Hampton Court rivaled the splendor of the royal court
        • Unpopular decisions were blamed on Wolsey
    • Justice System
      • Court of Chancery
        • Civil court therefore didn't deal with crimes
        • Decisions made were based on equity or fairness
        • Heard from both the rich or the poor
          • However Wolsey did take bribes
        • 540 cases per year on average
      • Court of Star Chamber
        • Criminal court which Wolsey intended to use it to tackle corruption
        • When judgments went against the rich Wolsey was accused of having a vendetta against them
        • 120 cases per year on average
      • Enclosures, 1517
        • Wolsey set up a commission to investigate the impact of closures on village life and began to prosecute landlords who hadn't had permission to enclose.
          • 1523 - parliament force him to suspend his investigations
    • Finances
      • Income from crown lands were failing because Henry had granted lands away from the crown
        • Act of Resumption, 1515: Restored some of the lands
      • Fifteenth and tenths: Taxation with fixed rates that were paid by town and boroughs with not regard for the wealth of the area
        • The Subsidy: A tax based on the taxpayers income and was much more flexible
      • 1524 Wolsey requested a subsidy of £800,000 but was only granted 200,000
      • Wolsey needed to raise funds for the Second French War 1522
        • Amicable Grant: A levy on 1/3 of the income of Clergy and Laity
          • Riots broke out in Kent, East Anglia and London as a result Wolsey had to drop it
    • Reason for Factional Opposition
      • Resentment of Wolsey's close relationship with the king and his influence of Patronage
      • Resentment of Wolsey's low birth
      • Resentment of cost cutting. Expulsion of the minions and the Eltham Ordniance
      • Resentment against enclosures
      • Treatment of nobility in the chambers
    • Wolsey and the Church
      • Wolsey was able to:
        • make visitations to all dioscese
        • appoint all benefices that were in the Church patronage
        • summon Church councils
        • make rules for clergy
        • Claim Canterbury's authority and revenues
      • Problems within the church
        • Pluralism
        • Nepotism
        • Absenteeism
        • Simony (buying and selling church offices)
        • sexual misconduct
        • Poor Education
      • Wolsey's Solutions
        • Benefit of the clergy: Cases against clergy accused of crimes were treated leniently
          • Act of 1512 removed benefit of the clergy for serious crimes who were NOT in holy orders
        • Behaviour of the clergy
          • Wolsey held an ecclesiastical court to investigate ways of improving behaviour
        • Reform of monasteries: some monks were living too comfortably and were too involved in worldly matters
          • Wolsey closed down 30 monasteries that were not viable. He used the money to build Cardinal College at Cambridge

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