Thomas Wolsey's Social and Legal Reforms, 1509-1529

Revision notes about the Social and Legal Reforms of Thomas Wolsey, 1509-1529.

Specifically for Unit F961 Option A Study Topic 3: Henry VIII to Mary I, 1509-58

[specification for my course on page 22 of http://www.ocr.org.uk/download/kd/ocr_9582_kd_gce_spec.pdf]

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  • Created by: Flo
  • Created on: 12-04-10 11:36

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HOW SUCCESSFUL WERE WOLSEY'S LEGAL AND SOCIAL
REFORMS?



1. The Law:

Wolsey became Chancellor in 1515 ­ responsible for running the equity courts (Courts of
Chancery, Star Chamber) and sitting as a judge every morning for about 6 months of the
year. Extended the Court of Chancery over probate (wills)…

Page 2

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Common Law courts had been becoming too unmanageable, so by transferring more
legal work to the equity courts he began a process of Common Law Court reform
which by the 1540s meant they were fit to take back work from the equity courts.
Lessened the local misuse of justice ­…

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Restored relatively little land ­ around 3000 acres.
Had to suspend cases for 18 months in 1523 to get the Parliamentary Subsidy
passed.
Rising wool prices had led to farmers turning land from grain to wool ­ after 1518
grain prices rose faster leading to farmers turning their land over…

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Most other legislation came from private Members about local concerns.

SUCCESSES

His ways of dealing with epidemics were innovative.
After grain shortage ­ ordered searches for grain and by a Proclamation of November
1527 organised a nationwide response ­ names of those holding surpluses presented
to Star Chamber by January…

Page 5

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He did attempt to achieve justice and solve certain social ills ­ worked at an impressive pace
using the unwieldy old system of the late medieval state and insisting upon detailed
information and vigorous government action.

Definitely tried to help the poor ­ to help them or undermine rich rivals?…

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