Wolsey

Revision cards with details of Wolsey's rise, fall and both domestic and foreign policy.

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Wolsey's Rise to Power

Wolsey was the son of butcher, but obtained a degree from Oxford, aged 15.

1509 - Henry VIII succeeded his father as king of England, and began getting rid of any servants he saw as old fashioned, such as Empson and Dudley. He appointed Wolsey as Royal Almoner.

1512 - Wolsey was responsible for organising the logistics of the First French War.

1514 - Wolsey became the king's chief minister.

1515 - The Pope appointed Wolsey a cardinal. In the same year he became Lord Chancellor.

1516 - Henry challenged papal authority in order to appoint Wolsey bishop of Tournai.

1518 - Wolsey was appointed papal legate.

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Foreign Policy

1512 - Wolsey became involved in Henry's policy, organising the First French War.

1516 - Wolsey was appoint bishop of Tournai in France.

1518 - The Treaty of London, attended by 20 European leaders, was arranged by the cardinal.

1519 - Francis and Charles began fighting for control of the Holy Roman Empire, questioning the effectiveness of the previous treaty.

1520 - The fortnight long Field of the Cloth of Gold was held in France. Again, this was mostly organised by Wolsey.

1521 - The Calais Peace Conference.

1522 - The Second French War began.

1524 - Wolsey went behind Henry's back to negotiate peace.

1525-27 - Wolsey was involved with various treaties, including the Treaties of More, Westminster and Amiens.

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Domestic Policy

While Wolsey was in power, he dissolved 20 failing monasteries.

1522 - Henry met Anne Boleyn at a court pageant. At some point after this, Wolsey persuaded Anne not to marry Henry Percy.

1525 - The Amicable Grant. Wolsey had to levy more taxes from the English people to pay for Henry's continued war against France. This led to widespread dissent.

1526 - Wolsey regularised the finance of the Privy Chamber through the Eltham Ordinances. This also helped him maintain control.

1527 - Henry initiated investigations into his first marriage. Wolsey was tasked with finding a way to annul to marriage.

1528 - Campeggio was sent from Rome to hear the case with Wolsey.

1529 - Campeggio adjourned the case, Wolsey's proceedings had failed. This led to the cardinals banishment to his diocese of York.

1530 - Wolsey died while under arrest, being taken to the Tower of London. Some have questioned whether this was suicide.

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Wolsey's Fall from Power

Wolsey epitomised corruption that was prevalent in the pre-Reformation church. He was guilty of pluralism (as he had numerous bishoprics, including one in Tournai, France), nepotism (Wolsey provided money and employment for his illegitimate son, Thomas Winter) and absenteeism (he only visitted his diocese of York once, after his fall in 1529).

John Skelton wrote satirical poetry, criticising Wolsey. He described the cardinal as 'So fatte a maggott//Bred of a flesh-flye', and was critical of him acting as an Alter Rex.

1515 - Polydore Vergil was imprisoned on Wolsey's command.

1521 - Wolsey played a part in the execution of the Duke of Buckingham.

1524 - The cardinal went behind Henry's back to negotiate for peace with France.

1528 - Wolsey appoint the abbess of Wiltshire against the advice of Henry and Anne Boleyn.

1529 - Wolsey failed to obtain an annulment for the king. He was banished to his diocese of York and died a year later. Starkey attributed Wolsey's fall mainly to the influence of the Boleyn faction.

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