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Describe the stages by which Wolsey gained power in Church and state

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Describe the stages by which Wolsey gained power in Church and state Wolsey was born in Ipswich in 1472 and was the son of a butcher. From such a low place in society he rose to become the second most powerful man in the country and one of the wealthiest. Wolsey reached the top in both ecclesiastical and secular positions due to both his character and personality and his fine mind. This being displayed at a very early age, after obtaining a BA from Oxford at the mere age of fifteen. Wolsey was gifted with all the skills needed for a good leader and although these were undoubtedly useful tools in making his way to the top, other factors such as luck, also played a part in Wolsey gaining power in both the Church and the state. As mentioned before, Wolsey's character and personality played a huge part in Wolsey's rise to the top. His power loving character and his desire to reach the top and surpass all was helped by his unscrupulous character. ...read more.


Wolsey's position in council was significant as it meant he was could share his viewpoints with Henry. In addition to this, being in council meant Wolsey knew that Henry was not pleased with his father's counsellors and it was therefore a matter of luck that this opportunity allowed Wolsey to gain Henry's favour and confidence by giving Henry the advice he wanted to hear. It was also a matter of luck that Wolsey did not have much competition as many of the leading figures from the previous reign such as Empson and Dudley were removed from the scene and others such as Bishop Fox and Archbishop Warham had retired. This meant that Wolsey's path to rising to the top was relatively clear and he had no fear of being overshadowed. A significant stage in Wolsey's rise to the top was in 1513 when Wolsey was given the task of organising the French expedition. He managed to do so successfully overcoming all the problems of transport, weaponry and supplies and thereby showing his ability to organise such a large operation effectively. ...read more.


However, Wolsey was not satisfied with being second best and he was able to persuade the Pope to make him Cardinal in 1515. Although this outranked all churchmen except the Pope, Wolsey did not have control of the Church as a whole and was therefore not satisfied as he had not outranked Archbishop Warham of Canterbury completely. Another campaign therefore took place in trying to make Wolsey Papal legate. He succeeded in securing his Papal legate in 1518 and his ecclesiastical career reached a pinnacle when in 1524, his powers were confirmed for life. This undoubtedly put Wolsey above Warham and he had achieved his objective of surpassing all- he was now the most senior churchman in England. Having looked at the various stages in which Wolsey rose to power in both Church and state, it seems that Wolsey's early years were important in establishing Henry's trust and confidence and in displaying his capability. It was after establishing a firm foundation that Wolsey gained power quite rapidly in both Church and state. 1 ...read more.

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