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1 Adresse:Scotland Ellen Francis
2 Adresse:Scotland Maggie Francis
3 Nickname:Grannyskeith Mary Francis
4 Justice of the Peace in Weir, KS George Samms
5 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1473? - 1530)

Wolsey. NPG Thomas Wolsey was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, possibly in 1473. His father Robert Wulcy was a butcher, innkeeper, and cattle dealer. Wolsey studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, taking his B.A. in 1488, and an M.A. in 1491. On March 10, 1498 he was ordained priest, and in October, 1500 presented the rectory of Limington in Somerset by the Marquess of Dorset. It is not clear that Wolsey was ever resident there, being master and Dean of Divinity at Magdalen College School 1500-01. Wolsey became chaplain to Henry Dean, the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1501, until the Archbishop's death in 1503. For the next four years Wolsey served as chaplain to Sir Richard Nanfan, governor of Calais, who introduced Wolsey to Henry VII. Upon Nanfan's death in 1507, Wolsey was appointed chaplain to Henry VII. The King employed Wolsey in administrative and diplomatic duties, including journeys to Flanders and Scotland.
In February 1509, Wolsey was appointed Dean of Lincoln, and appointed Royal Almoner upon Henry VIII's accession to the throne after his father's death. In 1510, Wolsey, well-favored by the young King, was appointed Registrar of the Order of the Garter and allowed to supplicate for the degrees of B.D. and D.D. Young King Henry, preferring the sports of lovemaking and hunting to politics, entrusted increasingly more power to Wolsey, and followed his counsel on matters of state.
In 1511, Wolsey convinced Henry, who openly harbored anti-French sentiments, to join Pope Julius II, King Ferdinand II of Aragón (Henry's father-in-law), Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, the Swiss cantons, and the Venetians in the Holy League against France. In November 1511, Henry and Ferdinand signed the Treaty of Westminster, pledging mutual help against France, their common enemy. Henry sent Lord Dorset with an army to France in 1512, but the campaign "ended in inglorious failure".1 The Queen and Wolsey successfully persuaded the King to mount a second offensive in 1513, led by himself. Henry's presence in France was unwelcome to Maximilian and Ferdinand when they realized he intended to depose Louis XII and crown himself King of France. They made a secret treaty with Louis XII to let the Henry win a few minor battles before the winter and his troops' return to England. Wolsey encouraged Henry to attack Boulogne, to strengthen the area around Calais, and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian enticed Henry to attack Tournai. On 16 August, 1513 the English army won over the French at Thérouanne, in what came to be known as the Battle of the Spurs.
While Wolsey was in France with the King, he received news from the Queen that the Scots were planning an invasion to England, led by King James IV, Henry's brother-in-law. On 9 September 1513, the English force, led by the Earl of Surrey, was victorious over the Scots at the battle of Flodden. It was one of the bloodiest confrontations ever in Britain, resulting in over ten thousand dead, among them James IV of Scotland. As winter was approaching, Henry and the troops returned to England. The allies agreed on a combined invasion of France in 1514, and on Henry's sister Mary Tudor's marriage to Charles of Castile in the spring. The Holy League, however, fell apart at Pope Julius II's death in 1513.
Wolsey was becoming the real power behind the throne, without ever letting the King guess who was truly running the country. In February 1513, he had been made Dean of York and Henry bestowed many favors upon him. The Queen, however, was falling from favor, for Henry had realized that Maximilian and Ferdinand had fooled him, and had no intention of pursuing a further war with France. The Council of Flanders also refused to accept Mary's intended wedding to Archduke Charles, and the King was gravely insulted. The Queen, Catharine of Aragón, bore the brunt of the King's displeasure, for she had often advised Henry to listen to Ferdinand, his father-in-law. Wolsey councelled Henry to form an alliance with France, the peace was signed in August 1514, and Louis XII agreed to increase the pension the French were paying in reparations. In October of the same year, Henry wed his sister Mary to the King of France. This marriage did not please the Queen who saw Wolsey's growing influence and knew it to be detrimental to her interests, and Spain's. Wolsey was indeed gaining momentum, having been appointed Bishop of Lincoln in 1514, and Archbishop of York in September of the same year. Unfortunately, Louis XII died only three months after the wedding, in early 1515.
In 1514, a curious legal case of one Richard Hume led to what would constitute Wolsey's first mistake with the King. Richard Hume was a London merchant who had lost his infant son, and when he had gone to the priest for burial, the priest had asked in payment of the mortuary fees the dead child's christening robe. Outraged, Hume had refused. The priest sued Hume in the ecclesiastical court, and Hume countersued, having the priest indicted in the Court of King's Bench for praemunire. While these proceedings were taking place, Hume was caught sheltering a heretic. Soon after, Hume was found hung in his cell. A coroner's jury was called, and it decided that he had been murdered. The bishop's chancellor was indicated for the crime. The Criminous Clerks Act which stated that hangers-on to clergy should be tried in the King's Court, instead of church courts, had expired, and when the Parliament met in 1515 to pass it again, the House of Lords, filled with members of the clergy, refused to pass it. The Church Convocation issued a statement saying: "No clergy should be tried in the King's Court." The House of Commons appealed to the King and had a conference with him at Blackfriars. A Doctor of Divinity, one Henry Standish, argued the case against the abbot. The Church, in retaliation, accused Standish of heresy, forcing Standish to appeal to the King. The Common Law judges at Blackfriars ruled for Standish, and against convocation, claiming praemunire. At the Parliament meeting, with the King present, Wolsey apologized for the clergy, getting down on his knees and begging that the case be sent to Rome. Henry VIII refused, stating that no-one had a right to rule over his decision, but God himself.
Wolsey was forgiven for this infraction and enjoyed further success. In September, 1515, he was appointed Cardinal by the Pope, and on Christmas Eve, 1515, named Lord Chancellor by the King. He now enjoyed not only a high Church position, but also the highest secular position.
In France, Louis XII had been succeeded by the young and dashing Francis I, and a rivalry soon developed between the two young monarchs. When the French conquered Milan at the battle of Marignano in 1515, Wolsey began again to favor an allegiance with Maximilian and Ferdinand. The situation changed abrubtly when Ferdinand died in 1516. Ferdinand was succeeded by his sixteen year-old grandson, Charles V, son of mad Juana of Aragón and Philip of Burgundy, son of Maximilian, the Holy Roman Emperor. Charles held not only Spain, but also the Indies, Sicily, Naples, and the Netherlands. It was advantageous to both Francis and Charles to form an allegiance with England, and Wolsey seized the chance. In 1518 he successfully negotiated the Treaty of London between Charles V, Maximilian I, Francis I, and Henry VIII. In May of 1518, Wolsey was named legatus a latere by the Pope—he was now the most powerful church official in England. In July of 1518 he was also appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells, which brought him additional revenue.
The peaceful relations were short-lived, however, because in 1519 Maximilian died, resulting in all three young kings coveting the position of Holy Roman Emperor. Charles V, grandson to both Maximilian and Ferdinand was the natural choice, but both Francis and Henry campaigned heavily for the title, bribing the Electors. At the age of nineteen, Charles V became the Holy Roman Emperor, now ruling Germany, Austria, the Low Countries, parts of Italy, as well as Spain. When in 1526 Hungary also came under his power he ruled half of Europe. Wolsey saw the opportunity of benefiting from the ancient rivalry between the houses of Hapsburg (Charles) and Valois (Francis) and began negotiations with both.
In February, 1520, Wolsey agreed that the English would meet Francis in May at Henry's castle in Guisnes in Calais. The Cardinal was in charge of the arrangements for this meeting which was to become "one of the most expensive charades ever staged in history, the Field of Cloth of Gold."2 Charles V, also avid to court English friendship, arrived for a state visit in May 1520. This was the first time the Queen met her nephew. Charles wanted to persuade Henry not to meet with Francis, but Henry explained he must and arranged to meet with Charles in Flanders afterwards. The Field of Cloth of Gold took place on 7 June, 1520, and continued for three weeks of festivities, each monarch trying to outdo the other in splendor. Henry and Francis signed a treaty of friendship, but as the Venetian embassador noted, "these sovereigns are not at peace. They hate each other cordially."3 In July, the English court hosted a banquet for Charles V in Calais, and Francis was furious.
On July 14, 1520, Henry signed a treaty with Charles in which both parties agreed not to make any new alliances with France for the next two years. Wolsey arranged the breaking of Princess Mary's betrothal to the French Dauphin, and in the spring of 1521 Charles proposed to marry her, to the great happiness of the Queen. In November, Wolsey was granted the abbacy of St. Albans. When Pope Leo X died in 1521, Wolsey expected Charles to influence the vote for the papacy in Wolsey's favor. Instead, Charles had the Cardinals elect his old tutor, Adrian. Wolsey was frustrated. In May 1522, Charles arrived in England for the betrothal ceremony, and three days later England declared war on France. It was decided that England would go to war with France in 1523. Charles left England and also declared war on France.
In 1523, Henry asked parliament for a grant of £800,000 to go to war with France. The House of Commons refused, and Sir Thomas More, who was Speaker at that time, agreed that Commons would give one subsidy of £100,000 a year for the next four years. This was not enough for the war, and Henry had to wait. Charles V saw this as England renegging on its promise, and was livid. The relations between Charles and Wolsey (who was still, in effect, in control of the government) further deteriorated when Pope Adrian VI died in 1523, and Wolsey's ambitions to be elected Pope were again thwarted. Charles had the Cardinals elect Clement VII, the Medici. By now Wolsey knew himself deceived. On the election of Pope Clement, Wolsey wrote: "For my part, as I take God to record, I am more joyous thereof than if it had fortuned upon my person."4 The new Pope gave Wolsey the bishopric of Durham in exchange for Bath and Wells, and Wolsey still held the Archbishopric of York.
In February 1525, Charles was victorious at the Battle of Pavia, in Italy, where King Francis was taken prisoner. Henry wanted to take advantage of France's downfall, and wage war again. Finances were still an issue, so Wolsey tried to force an "Amicable Loan" from the nobility. This caused so much outrage with the nobility who already resented Wolsey's power, that Henry had to step in and apologize for Wolsey. This was the second strike.
Charles V was now a danger to all of Europe, and Wolsey began to make overtures towards France again. When Charles announced,in August, 1525, that he considered his betrothal to Princess Mary null and void (for he had found a richer bride, Isabella of Portugal), Henry released him from the betrothal and signed a new treaty with France. In the summer of 1526, Francis offered himself husband for Princess Mary. Both Wolsey and Henry were enthusiastic. The marriage treaty, for either Francis or his second son to marry Mary, was sealed in May 1527. Francis himself soon became engaged to Eleanor, the sister of Charles V, and thus Henry, Duke of Orléans, became Mary's betrothed.
The celebration was short-lived. On May 6, 1527, the Emperor's disgruntled troops sacked the city of Rome, and forced the Pope to take refuge in Castel Santangelo—Charles V now held the Pope in his power. With the new cementing of ties with France, Henry felt he no longer needed the goodwill of Spain. Thus, it did not matter if he angered the Emperor by casting aside his aunt, Katherine of Aragón, Queen of England. The King was eager to rid himself of a Spanish queen who had entered menopause and would never bear him a male heir, but most of all, he was eager to remarry. Anne Boleyn, and the King's 'great matter', would prove to be Wolsey's final downfall.
The King turned to Wolsey for help in getting an annulment of his first marriage. Wolsey pleaded with the King to avoid such action, but the King was adamant. Henry claimed having long had doubts of the validity of his marriage to his dead brother's widow, citing a biblical passage (from Leviticus 20) which condemns such a marriage as unclean, and which God will render childless. As papal legate, Wolsey convened a secret ecclesiastical court for 17 May 1527, and the King testified having doubts and asking for judgment. The court reconvened twice more, and on 31 May declared they were not qualified to judge such a difficult case.
The Privy Council recommended the King apply to the Pope for a decision on the annulment. Wolsey suggested that he be sent to France to convince King Francis to use his influence to persuade the Pope to extend Wolsey's authority, in order that Wolsey could judge on the case. He left for France in July. While Wolsey was out of the country, the Boleyn faction worked hard to undermine the Cardinal's authority with the King, claiming that Wolsey was actually hard at work preventing an annulment. By the time Wolsey returned from France in September, having failed to secure the support of Francis, the King was already doubting his loyalty.
Unfortunately, the Pope was now as good as prisoner to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, the Queen's nephew. The Queen kept sending missives to further her own suit, which of course was not to have the marriage annulled and her daughter declared a bastard. Charles V told Pope Clement he was 'determined to preserve the Queen's rights' and forbad him to annul the marriage or to let the case be tried in England.5 Thus, when Wolsey's and Henry's respective ambassador's visited with him, Clement cordially refused to grant a dispensation for an annulment. Wolsey, who was aware of the King's growing displeasure and distrust with him, was doing everything in his power to get Clement to reconsider. In one letter, he wrote, “If the Pope is not compliant, my own life will be shortened, and I dread to anticipate the consequences.”6
In January 1528, England and France declared war on the Emperor. Henry sent to Rome Edward Fox, doctor of divinity, and Stephen Gardiner, doctor of both civil and church law, to influence the Pope to grant Wolsey the power to rule on Henry's case. Eventually, in April, Clement agreed to send to England a Cardinal Campeggio, to try the case with Wolsey, but refused to grant either the power to pronounce sentence. It was a start, yet it was not enough. The King was getting impatient. What further aggravated the situation was an outbreak of the sweating sickness in June—Anne was sent away from London, and the plague. Wolsey, taking this as a sign of God's wrath at the proceedings, wrote to Henry to ask him to drop the annulment suit. Henry, outraged, is said to have exclaimed he would have given “a thousand Wolseys for one Anne Boleyn.”7 The end to Wolsey's years in favor was near.
Cardinal Campeggio arrived in England at the end of September 1528. The proceedings began on 22 October, with Campeggio angering the King by suggesting he reconcile with the Queen. To appease the King, Campeggio showed the King a decretal bull authorizing him to adjudicate on the case. The King kept pushing Wolsey to get the bull from Campeggio, but Wolsey was unsuccessful. To make matters worse, Anne Boleyn kept maligning Wolsey to Henry, working hard to convince him that Wolsey was not sincerely trying to advance the annulment. Despite Wolsey's protests to the contrary, the King would not believe him, forcing Wolsey to plead with Francis I to urge the Pope to grant the divorce. Due to the Pope's illness in early 1529, the court did not convene until 20 May 1529. In the meantime, Wolsey had done his utmost to get the decretal bull from Campeggio, but finally in June he told Wolsey that the Pope had forbidden its use. In July, Clement, due to pressure from Charles V, revoked the commission to Campeggio and Wolsey, and the legatine court formally closed. Anne was livid, and blamed Wolsey.
In October 1529, Wolsey was officially stripped of the office of Lord Chancellor, and was required to return the Great Seal. Desperately trying to avoid indictment, Wolsey gave the King most of his property, including York Place, himself retiring to a modest house in Esher, Surrey. York Place was to be renovated, renamed Whitehall, and given to Anne Boleyn. In November Wolsey begged the King for mercy, and Henry, placated, placed Wolsey under his personal protection. Just after Christmas, Wolsey fell ill and was thought to be dying. The King sent him a message saying he “would not lose him for £20,000”,8 and the Cardinal's health improved. Anne was not finished with Wolsey, however. She was furious when, 12 February, 1530, the King pardoned Wolsey formally and confirmed his Archbishopric of York. Anne began in earnest to cry for Wolsey's blood.

Cardinal Wolsey surrendering the Great Seal
Cardinal Wolsey surrendering the Great Seal (1529)
From Cavendish's Life of Wolsey Roll 214.5.
The Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Wolsey had never privately supported the King's wish to obtain an annulment. Realising that his only road back to power would be if the Queen were retained and Anne disposed with, Wolsey wrote to the Pope to have the matter solved with more speed. Anne, however, was not waiting idly. She had Wolsey's physician bribed into falsely accusing Wolsey of urging the Pope to excommunicate Henry, and to seize the English throne himself. Wolsey had also written to Francis and Charles to ask them to intercede with the King on his behalf, and this also was used against him as evidence of treachery. The Cardinal was arrested on a charge of high treason in November. Travelling from Cawood, Yorkshire, to the Tower of London proved too much for Wolsey who fell ill on the way and died at Leicester Abbey. He is said to have said on his deathbed, “If I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, he would not have given me over in my grey hairs.”9 
Thomas Wolsey
6 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was born in c1473 and died in November 1530. Wolsey was Henry VIII's most important government minister who acquired much power which ended only after he failed to secure for Henry a divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

Cardinal Wolsey

Wolsey was the son of a butcher and cattle dealer. He had a relatively comfortable upbringing and was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford University. Wolsey decided on a life devoted to God and he joined the church. He held a number of private chaplainries but he soon came to the attention of Henry VII as Wolsey was quickly identified as a man who had excellent managerial skills with a very good grasp of detail. Wolsey was also a very keen worker. In 1507, he was appointed Henry VII’s chaplain.

Wolsey continued to serve at court when Henry VIII succeeded his father in 1509. Wolsey received support at court from William Warham who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1503 to 1532 and Chancellor from 1504 to 1515.

However, Wolsey quickly outgrew this support and he became the unofficial royal secretary. This position gave him almost daily contact with Henry VIII who rewarded the hard work and dedication Wolsey showed towards him by giving him numerous religious titles that were to finance the luxurious lifestyle Wolsey was to have. He was appointed a bishop for Lincoln, Bath and Wells, Durham and Winchester; an abbot for St Albans and Archbishop of York. He was also appointed Chancellor in 1514 and held that position until 1529. In 1515, Wolsey was appointed a cardinal and in 1518 he became a "Legate a latere" which made him a special and permanent representative of the pope. This position gave him huge power of the church in England at the time - far more power than Warham had as Archbishop of Canterbury.

When in London, Wolsey lived in York Place (now gone but where Whitehall now stands) and he also owned Hampton Court as a country residence. His luxurious lifestyle made him many enemies at court but he remained safe because of the support of the king.

As Chancellor, Wolsey dominated the Royal Council. He got to know who could be trusted and who could not. The nobility had been severely weakened under Henry VII and tried, at times, to resurrect their old power in the early years of Henry VIII’s reign. Wolsey ensured this did not happen and he used his position to tame the aristocracy. Such loyalty and devotion brought its rewards. Wolsey was, at times, the government of the country. Henry VIII had little time for the boredom of day-to-day government business as he was too busy hunting etc. This was left to Wolsey. The king decided on policy and Wolsey enforced and shaped it. However, from Wolsey’s point of view, he was always the servant to his master, Henry VIII.

Wolsey did a great deal to reform the legal system in England. It was modernised and, ironically, the power of the Church courts was reduced as the power of the Star Chamber and the common law courts was increased. The government was run effectively as would be expected from such a man.

However, despite being Chancellor, Wolsey had a poor knowledge of financial issues. He failed to use his position to develop England’s overseas trade and he failed to ensure that royal revenue increased at the same rate as the king’s spending. The economy of England was changing in the early Sixteenth Century - the so-called Price Revolution - but Wolsey failed to understand the complexities behind this change.

In foreign affairs, Wolsey supported Henry’s campaigns against France. He also had as a priority the security of England from European threats. However, he failed to be Europe’s great power-broker simply because England did not have enough financial power to have this position.

Wolsey’s fall from grace was over his inability to persuade the pope that Henry should have a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Henry believed that Wolsey, as "Legate a latere", had the necessary influence in Rome to secure his much wanted divorce. When Wolsey failed to do this, his position at court was doomed.

On September 22nd 1529, Wolsey was dismissed as Chancellor. By the end of October, he was sacked from his bishopric in Winchester and as Abbot of St Albans. The influential Boleyn family - Henry wanted to marry Anne - persuaded Henry that Wolsey should be removed from London. In April 1530, Wolsey arrived in York as Archbishop of York. He had been appointed Archbishop of York in 1514. Sixteen years later he visited the city for the first time!

Henry’s anger at Wolsey’s failure to get a divorce became more intense and he ordered his arrest which happened in November 1530. Wolsey was meant to be locked up in the Tower of London. However, he died during the journey from York to London at Leicester Abbey on November 29th 1530. 
Thomas Wolsey
7 Thomas Wolsey

Cardinal, Archbishop of York, b. at Ipswitch, the usually accepted date, 1471, being probably three or four years too early; d. at Leicester Abbey, 29 November, 1530. His father, Robert Wulcy (or Wolsey), was a man of substance, owning property in Ipswich, but it is not known that he was a butcher as commonly reported. The cardinal himself always wrote his name as "Wulcy". He was educated at Oxford, where he took his degree at the age of fifteen, winning the title "the boy bachelor". About 1497 he was elected fellow of Magdalen, and after becoming M. A. was appointed master of the adjoining school. The father of three of his pupils, the Marquis of Dorset, presented him the rectory of Limington in Somerset in October, 1500. He had been ordained priest at Marlborough (10 March, 1498) by the suffragan of the Bishop of Salisbury. He also received other benefices, and became one of the domestic chaplains to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry Dean. On the archbishop's death (1503) he became chaplain to Sir Richard Nanfan, who, perceiving his remarkable talent for administration, entrusted him with his financial affairs and introduced him to the notice of King Henry VII. When Sir Richard died in 1507, Wolsey became one of the court chaplains, and was befriended by the influential Bishop of Winchester, Richard Fox. He shortly acquired the livings of Redgrave in Suffolk (1506) and Lydd in Sussex (1508), and about this time the king began to employ him in the diplomatic service; it was probably then that he made the well- known journey into Flanders and back as special envoy to the Emperor Maximilian with such rapidity that when he returned on the third day the king, believing he had not yet started, rebuked him for remissness. As Master of the Rolls his grasp of practical affairs enabled him to initiate reforms which greatly accelerated the business of the Court. On 2 February, 1509, he was made dean of Lincoln, and on the accession of Henry VIII, which happened shortly after, he received an assurance of the continuance of royal favour in his appointment as almoner. During the next year he supplicated for the degrees of B. D. and D. D., and obtained the additional livings of St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London, and Torrington in Devonshire, as well as a prebend in Hereford cathedral. On 17 Feb., 151, he became a canon of Windsor and soon after registrar to the Order of the Garter.

By 1512 he was exercising marked influence in political affairs and his share in the royal favour was already attracting the dislike of the old nobility. In foreign and domestic business alike the king followed his counsel and daily entrusted more power to his hands. Fresh preferment continued to pour in on him. He became successively dean of Hereford (1512), dean of York (1513), dean of St. Stephen's, Westminster, and precentor of London. He began to keep some state and when he accompanied the king to France in June, 1513, he was followed by a train of two hundred gentlemen. He was present through Henry's successful campaign, and at the king's request the pope named him Bishop of Tournay; but he never obtained possession and later on surrendered his claim to the bishopric for an annual pension. Instead he was appointed Bishop of Lincon, the papal bulls being dated 6 February, 1514, and he was consecrated at Lambeth palace on 26 March. In the following September he succeeded Cardinal Bainbridge as Archbishop of York, and on 10 Setember, 1515, was created cardinal with the title "S. Caecilia trans Tiberim", receiving the hat in Westminster Abbey on 18 November. A month later (24 December) he became Lord Chancellor of England, and had thus attainted at the early age of forty or there-abouts the highest dignities, spiritual and temporal, that a subject could hope for. His power with the king was so great that the Venetian Ambassador said he now might be called "Ipse rex" (the king himself).

Of Wolsey's foreign policy only the main lines can be indicated. His first efforts were to lead the king back to his father's policy of an alliance with France in opposition to Ferdinand of Spain and the Emperor Maximilian. But the French conquest of Milan at the battle of Marignano in 1515 checked this scheme, and led Wolsey to make new treaties with Maximilian and Ferdinand. After Ferdinand's death the cardinal's policy entered on a new phase, calculated to meet the entirely new situation. Ferdinand's successor, Charles V, now held Spain, the Indies, Sicily, Naples, and the Netherlands with reversion of the duchy of Austria. Rivalry between the two young monarchs, Francis and Charles, thus became inevitable, and Wolsey saw the advantage which England would derive from the sense each had of the value of the English alliance. At this time the pope was endeavouring to raise a crusade against the Turks, and Wolsey adroitly succeeded in effecting a universal peace to which the pope and emperor as well as Francis and Charles were parties. Under cover of this peace Wolsey pushed forward his favourite policy of alliance with France. A treaty with France was carried through by the cardinal himself and the other councillors were only called to approve what had already been settled.

But in January, 1519, the situation was again changed by the death of the Emperor Maximilian and the consequent contest for the imperial crown. When Charles was duly elected emperor the rivalry between the houses of Habsburg and Valois was accentuated. Instead of three powers-Maximilian, Francis, and Charles-Wolsey had now only two to reckon with and to play off against each other. He determined on a policy of neutrality with the view of giving England the decisive power in guiding the destinies of Europe. Meetings between Henry and both the rival monarchs took place; he met Charles at Canterbury and Francis at the celebrated Field of the Cloth of Gold. But a second meeting with the emperor followed immediately and Henry's personal predilections were in favour of an alliance with him rather than with France. Still Wolsey persuaded the king that the neutral policy was the most profitable, especially when war actually broke out. Both parties to the war were soon willing to accept England's mediation, and Wolsey conducted a long conference during which his conduct was more diplomatic than honest, and before the conference was over he signed a secret treaty with the emperor which provided for an offensive and defensive alliance against France. This was a new policy for him to adopt, and it is clear that in this treaty his own wishes were overborne by Henry's desire for a new war with France, and it was not till two abortive campaigns had disillusioned the king that Wolsey was again able to resort to diplomatic measures. This treaty with the emperor was, however, of importance in Wolsey's own life as it opened up the way for his possible election to the papacy.

The death of Leo X (2 December, 1521) gave the emperor an opportunity of exercising his influence in Wolsey's favour as he had promised, but the imperial influence was not in fact brought to bear and Wolsey received very few votes. During the year 1522 the alliance with the emperor continued, and Wolsey was occupied in raising large sums of money for the proposed war against France, becoming thereby still more unpopular with the nation. The new pope, Adrian VI, died on 14 Sept., 1523, and again Wolsey was a candidate for the papacy. The English ambassadors at Rome were confident that the united influence of Charles and Henry would secure his election, but again Charles deceived him and Clement VII was chosen. The new pope not only confirmed his legateship for life, but gave him the Bishopric of Durham in addition to his Archbishopric of York. Upon this Wolsey resigned the See of Bath and Wells which he had held in commendam since 1518. It does not seem that Wolsey personally was particularly anxious to become pope, though doubtless he would have accepted the position had he been chosen. On the election of Pope Clement he wrote, "For my part, as I take God to record, I am more joyous thereof than if it had fortuned upon my person", and Anglian historians, such as Bishop Creighton and Dr. James Gairdner, accept this as representing his genuine feelings. The alliance with the emperor, which had always been against Wolsey's better judgment, did not survive the events of 1523. Henry could not make war again for want of means, and Charles now distrusted him; so Wolsey reverted to his original idea of alliance with France, but he was not able to do much until 1525, when the defeat and capture of Francis at the battle of Pavia made the dominant power of Charles a danger to all Europe. In face of this peril Henry reluctantly made a new treaty with France. It was a bold policy for Wolsey, for, having incurred the jealousy of the nobility by his power, he had aroused the hostility of the people by financial exactions, and he provoked the enmity of all by the extravagant pomp with which he surrounded himself on all his public appearances. He could rely only on the king's favour, and he knew that to lose this was complete ruin. Just at this critical juncture the king raised the question of the divorce from Queen Katharine in order that he might marry Anne Boleyn. This personal matter "widened into unexpected issues and consumed Wolsey's energies till it led to his fall" (Creighton, p. 150). Wolsey did not wish Henry to marry Anne, but he was not averse to ridding himself of Katherine's adverse political influence, for her sympathy with her nephew the emperor caused her to dislike Wolsey's French policy. So he lent himself to forward the king's wishes. The first steps were taken in his own legatine court, apparently with the idea that if this tribunal pronounced against the validity of the king's marriage the pope would confirm the sentence. But Katharine learned of the king's plan and prepared to defend her rights. As she could count on the sympathy of both pope and emperor the king despatched Wolsey to persuade the French king to bring sufficient pressure to bear on the pope to counteract the influence of Charles. The scheme was to deliver the pope from Charles V, who had sacked Rome, in the hope that Clement's gratitude would induce him to favour the king with regard to the divorce.

The history of the divorce question has been treated of under the articles CLEMENT VII and HENRY VIII; it will suffice here to note Wolsey's attitude. When he returned to England he heard for the first time of Knight's embassy to Rome, and thus learnt that he no longer enjoyed the king's complete confidence. And though Anne Boleyn and the king, realizing that he might yet be useful, treated him with friendliness and consideration, he realized that in Anne he had a serious political rival. When the pope appointed Cardinal Campeggio to try the case in England with Wolsey, the English cardinal soon learnt that the matter was entirely in his colleague's hands. All Campeggio's efforts to avoid holding the trial at all having failed, the court sat at Blackfriars on 18 June, 1529. Before this Anne Boleyn, regarding Wolsey as responsible for the long delay, had set herself to bring about his fall. The failure of the trial rendered this possible, and during August and September he was kept at a distance from the Court and was known to be in disgrace. In November a bill of indictment was preferred against him, and on 19 November he had to surrender the great seal of England. On 22 November he was forced to sign a deed confessing that he had incurred a praemunire and surrendering all his vast possessions to the king. On 30 November judgment was given that he should be out of the king's possession and should forfeit all his lands and goods. He remained at Esher through the winter, disgraced, though not without occasional messages of kindness from the king. His health, which had been bad for many years, now failed seriously. In February he received a general pardon, and the possessions of his archbishopric were restored to him, except York House, which he had to convey to the king. He was then allowed to retire to York, where he spent the last six months of his life in devotion and a sincere effort to do his duty as a bishop. Though he had been worldly and his private life had not been stainless, he had always been a Catholic. His last days were embittered by the news that the king intended to suppress the two colleges, at Ipswich and Oxford, which he had founded with such care. The former perished, but Christ's College survived, though not in the completeness he had intended. He was in residence at Cawood near York, preparatory to being enthroned in York minster, when, on 4 November, commissioners from the king came to arrest him on a charge of high treason. Slowly and as an invalid he travelled towards London, knowing well what to expect. "Master Kingston, I see the matter against me now it is framed; but if I had served God as diligently as I have done the king He would not have given me over in my gray hairs." The end came at Leicester Abbey where on arrival he told the abbot, "I am come to leave my bones among you."

He died unregretted by any save his immediate attendants, yet he had given his life unselfishly to the interests of his country, and no Englishman has ever surpassed him in the genius with which he directed both the foreign and domestic relations of England, so as to make each undertaking help his great design of making her the centre of European politics. His foreign policy, though planned on great and heroic lines, was severely practical. Its object was to help English trade and to maintain peace, to secure union with Scotland, and to effect judicious ecclesiastical reforms. He looked for a European settlement of the difficulties that beset the Church and desired England to take the leading part therein. His failure was owing to the selfishness of Henry. The question of the divorce not only led to the fall of Wolsey, but withdrew England for generations from European politics and made her, not the leader that Wolsey had dreamed of, but a nation apart. 
Thomas Wolsey
8 At least one living individual is linked to this note - Details withheld. Source: Tina's Family Genealogy Page