1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Cardinal Wolsey

By

Cardinal Wolsey

Portrait of Cardinal Wolsey at Christ Church by an unknown artist

Public Domain
This profile of Cardinal Wolsey is part of
Who's Who in Medieval History

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Cardinal Wolsey was also known as:

Thomas Wolsey; Cardinal Thomas Wolsey; also spelled Wulcey

Wolsey's titles included: Archbishop of York, Bishop of Lincoln, lord chancellor, cardinal legate and papal legate

Cardinal Wolsey was noted for:

His loyal service as lord chancellor to King Henry VIII, his influence over matters of state and international politics, and his unmerited downfall.

Occupations & Roles in Society:

Places of Residence and Influence:

Important Dates:

    Born: c. 1475
    Ordained: 1498
    Becomes Chaplain to Henry VII: 1507
    Appointed Dean of Lincoln: April, 1530
    Died: Nov. 29, 1530

About Cardinal Wolsey:

Born the son of a butcher in Ipswich, Thomas Wolsey was educated at Oxford and was ordained a priest in 1498. He joined the king's service a few years before Henry VIII ascended to the throne in 1509, and he quickly became both an influential advisor and a trusted assistant, rising to the post of lord chancellor in December, 1515. Together, Wolsey and Henry would take England into the midst of international politics and war, attempting to develop a role in the balance of power between France and the empire. They also helped make England a leading center of Renaissance learning.

As chancellor and cardinal, Wolsey led both the church and state in England, and he influenced the clerics under his authority to consider themselves subject to the king as well as to the pope long before Henry even thought of a break with the Church. Although he frequently followed the papacy politically, Wolsey always put England and the king's wishes first, even to the detriment of his own clerical career.
Unfortunately, Wolsey's lowborn status, abrasive personality, excessive personal wealth and the fact that he had a mistress and illegitimate children while holding high ecclesiastical office all combined to engender antipathy in much of the nobility. When he repeatedly failed to secure an annulment for the king, a faction was able to turn Henry against him. He was stripped of all his titles except Archbishop of York, and he left London for York; yet his enemies led Henry to believe he planned to recover his position. He was arrested on charges of treason in early November, but died on his way to face the king.

More Cardinal Wolsey Resources:

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Medieval History
  4. People & Places
  5. Who's Who
  6. W Who
  7. Cardinal Wolsey - Advisor to King Henry VIII Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.