Wolsey and Government



The King's willingness to devote himself to business was lacking and he did almost all his work by word of mouth. Henry was willing to delegate consistently but neither chief minister or Royal Council met the difficulties fully which created uncertainy.


1513: Dean of York and Bishop of Tournai

1514:Bishop of Lincoln and then Archbishop of York

1515:Made a Cardinal by Pope Leo X and became Lord Chancellor

1518:Appointed Papal Legate by Pope Leo X


  • Henry became disenchanted with the reluctance of some of his fathers senior councillors to start a war with France
  • Henry became increasingly his own man by asserting his right to control decision making
  • He surrounded himself with like-minded young courtiers who reinforced his suspicions of the old guard

Henry became more impressed with Wolsey, after his effective management of the French campaign he emerged as the dominant political figure and was very good at giving the king exactly what he wanted. In addition to the management of the Church and the conduct of foreign relations, Wolsey's main concerns were the legal system, the formulation of domenstic policy and political decision making.


The role of the Privy Chamber was extended in Henry's reign when the King's minions became Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber. Collectively the minions distrusted Wolsey who set himself the tax of neutralising their influence. In 1519 he secured the removal of the minions and replaced them with his own supporters however many managed to recover their position. The Privy retained some of it's prestige and was a part of goverment which was outside Wolsey's immediate control.


The main court of equity.

Wolsey was not a trained lawyer but as Lord Chancellor he oversaw the legal system. He had the right to preside over the Court of Chancery and tried to uphold fair justice. The main problem was that the chancery cort became too popular and justice was slow since it became


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