How did Wolsey influence England's laws and finances?



This policy was already in place before Henry, in which it involved the seizing of common land changing it into private property. This meant the changing of open-field systems to enclosed fields owned by individual farmers. He needed to ensure that it was done fairly as in many cases it wasn't

Wolsey looked into recent cases of enclosure, making it more fairer by returning land to it's original owners. However people began to protest that in their town it was unfair too. Cases began to build up and many cases were un-resolved as Wolsey wanted to see to then all personally rather than deligate.

Three Statutes had been passed against enclosure before Wolsey became Lord Chancellor, yet they had been ignored. Wolsey went to work on enclosure in 1517, launching a national inqury into all enclosed land. Those brought to court ordered to re-build houses that they destroyed and return land.

Even though Wolsey's actions helped some, enclosure still continued and rural poverty continued to climb. In a parliamentary session 1523, Wolsey was forced to accept all existing enclosure and suggesting he had no control.

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Wolsey appointed Lord Chancellor, 1515, active in both Court of Chancery and Court of Star Chamber (Royal law court). Wosley presided over many cases in person, with the centre of his legal activities lying in the law court.

Anyone was able to bring their case to the Star Chamber, regardless of wealth or social status. Star Chamber dealt with over 120 cases a year under Wolsey compared to 12 under Henry VII.

Wolsey promoted Civil Law (Roman Law) over Common Law (English) in the court of Star Chamber, using his court to overturn common law rulings. 

Civil law was progressive and emphasised natural justice where as Common law was outdated and unjust.

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Justice Continued...

Wolsey's achievements in the law hinged on his pursuit of justice for all and endorsing a progressive legal system. 

Entering the first benefice (clerical position) he took revenge on Paulet who had put him in the stocks as a young man, by using/ abusing his position of Lord Chancellor. 

Sir Amyas had to wait in daily attendance at Wolsey's court for five years under the threat of all his property being confiscated if he left London

In 1515, Earl of Northumberland was sent to Fleet Prison and in 1516, Lord Burgavenny was accuesd of illegal retaining

Enormous backlog of cases to be heard in the Star Chamber by 1529 and much of the administration was chaotic

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Wolsey's greatest achievement was replacing the fifteenths and tenths system. New system of subsides accuratly reflected the wealth of the tax payer.

Commissiones dispatched into localities to access the wealth of the taxpayer in that area. Wolsey favoured the subsidy as it rasied more money, 1513-1516 rasied £170,000

In 1513-29 Wolsey rasied:
-£325,000 parliamentary subsidy
-£118,000 from fifteenths and tenths
-loans totalled £250,000

In 1523 Wolsey demanded £800,000 in taxation which only amounted to £200,000

Wolsey didn't gain as much money as he had hoped for 

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Amicable Grant

Additional tax demanded by Wolsey in 1525 to fund Henry's expeditions to France

Refusal to pay and rebellion against it rose up in Suffolk and East Anglia

Amicable Grant abandonded in May 1525 and no further taxations were attempted

Marked the beginning of the end of Wolsey

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