Wolseys Domestic Policies

AN easy yet detailed guide of Wolseys main domestic policies:

  • Finances
  • enclosure
  • The amicable grant
  • and lastly justice
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  • Wolsey`s domestic policies
    • Justice
      • Following Wolsey`s appointment of lord chancellor in 1515 he was active in both the court of Chancery and the star chamber
      • Wolsey`s success can be attributed to the fact that anyone was bale to bring their case before him in Star Chamber dealt with over 120 cases each year under Wolsey, compared with around 12 cases per year in the reign of Henry VII
      • Wolsey also promoted civil law over common law in the Court of Star Chamber and frequently used his courts to overturn common law verdicts
      • Civil law was seen as more progressive and just in that it laid an emphasis on natural justice rather than on precedent when decisions were being made. Common law was seen as outdated.
      • Finally its pointed out that Wolsey`s achievements in the law did not outlast him. He used the existing machinery of the law to carry out his work and failed to carry out any lasting institutional reform. He may well have been active as Lord Chancellor but he was chaotic in the star chamber
    • Enclosure
      • The hsirotians Scarisbrick and Peter Gwyn both place much emphasis upon the legal actions that Wolsey took against those nobles who enclosed land illegally
      • Enclosure involved fencing off common and for profitable cheep rearing, and this action was thought to be responsible for rural depopulation and poverty
      • Wolsey started working on enclosure in 1517, launching a national inquiry into enclosed land
      • Once more we can see Wolsey`s drive and determination in bringing great men to justice, and to challenge the power of the aristocracy. At the same time one might question the long term practical results of Wolsey`s activities.
    • Finances
      • Wolsey`s greatest achievement in financial policy was to replace the traditional fifteenths and tenths with a system that accurately reflected the true wealth of taxpayers across England
      • The subsidy and fifteenths and tenths continued to exist together, but it was clearly the subsidy that Wolsey favoured because it raised more money and it was more progressive
      • From 1513 to 1529 Wolsey raised £325,000 in parliamentary subsidies, £118,000 from fifteenths and tenths and loans totalling £250,000. However Money caused Wolsey problems dealing with Henry and parliament
      • In 1523 Wolsey demanded over £800,000 in taxation from parliament on top of the loans that were still being collected from 1522, which amounted to £260,000.
    • The amicable grant
      • Matters came to a head in February 1525, after the French army had been annihilated at the battle of Pavia. Henry VIII saw this defeat as an opportunity to invade France, especially as the French king, Francis I, was held captive by Charles V. However, the coffers were empty, so Wolsey demanded a non-parliamentary tax called the Amicable grant
      • The results were a refusal to pay and rebellion across Suffolk and East Anglia. Ten thousand men marched on Lavenham, an important cloth making centre in Suffolk, highlighting the scale of this tax rebellion. The hostility was not initiated by nobles, indeed the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk did their bit to restore order.
      • Yet the spontaneous nature of the uprising was evidence of the unpopularity of Wolsey`s policies. The Amicable Grant was abandoned in May1525 and no further taxation was attempted by Wolsey.
  • Yet the spontaneous nature of the uprising was evidence of the unpopularity of Wolsey`s policies. The Amicable Grant was abandoned in May1525 and no further taxation was attempted by Wolsey.

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