Wolsey, Thomas, Cardinal

Wolsey, Thomas, Cardinal

biographical name

(born c. 1475, Ipswich, Suffolk, Eng.—died Nov. 29, 1530, Leicester, Leicestershire) English prelate and statesman. He served as chaplain to Henry VII and later Henry VIII, for whom he organized the successful campaign against the French (1513). On Henry's recommendation, the pope made Wolsey successively bishop of Lincoln (1514), archbishop of York (1514), cardinal (1515), and papal legate (1518). In 1515 Henry appointed him lord chancellor of England, which added to his power and wealth. Wolsey sought to bring peace to Europe, but in 1521 he allied with Emperor Charles V against France. Although he introduced judicial and monastic reforms, he became unpopular for raising taxes. In 1529 he failed to persuade the pope to grant Henry an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, for which he soon lost favour and was stripped of his offices except the archbishopric of York. In 1530 he was arrested for treason for corresponding with the French court, and he died on his way to face the king.

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