Fact of the day: 10th September

On this day 1515 Thomas Wolsey was invested as a Cardinal.

Thomas Wolsey (c. March 1473[1] – 29 November 1530;) was an English political figure and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

When Henry VIII became King of England in 1509, Wolsey became the King’s almoner. Wolsey’s affairs prospered, and by 1514 he was the controlling figure in virtually all matters of state and extremely powerful within the Church.

The highest political position he attained was Lord Chancellor, the King’s chief adviser. In that position, he enjoyed great freedom, and was often depicted as an alter rex (other king). download (16)

Despite his expansive power as the King’s “right-hand man”, he fell out of favour due to his failure to negotiate an annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He was ultimately stripped of his government posts and retreated to York to oversee his clerical duties as Archbishop of York, a post he nominally held but never exercised during his many years in government.

He was recalled to London to answer to charges of treason (a common charge used by Henry against ministers who fell out of favour), but died en route of natural causes before arriving in London.

Within the Church, he became Archbishop of York, the second most important seat in England, and then was made a cardinal in 1515, giving him precedence, even over the Archbishop of Canterbury. His main legacy is from his interest in architecture, in particular his old home of Hampton Court Palace, which stands today.


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