Did Henry VIII wholly surrender his power to Wolsey?

Authors Avatar by johncussonshotmailcom (student)

It is hotly debated whether or not Henry VIII wholly surrendered power in government to Cardinal Wolsey. To analyse the extent of the truth of this statement we must consider the Sources; a history book from J.J Scarasbrick reviewing the relationship of the King and Wolsey another history book by John Lotherington also reviewing Wolsey and the King’s relationship and a letter written by Henry VIII himself which perfectly demonstrates their relationship.

Source 4 agrees with the statement stating that the king ‘had wholly surrendered the cases of state to the Cardinal’s hand’ directly agreeing with the statement and showing that Henry gave all power to Wolsey so as ‘to cast off the cares’ this is supported by Source 6 where Henry dismissively tells Wolsey to ‘keep a careful watch on… others of whom you are suspicious’ this clearly illustrates that Henry VIII would offload matters of state into Wolsey’s hands and allow him to respond as he wished showing a clear passing of the reins of power.

Join now!

However when analysing these sources it is important to consider the nature origin and purpose of the source. Source 4 is quoting a servant of Wolsey George Cavendish who was not privy to Wolsey’s political power or action but was merely a personal companion and thus would wish to create a grand image for his employer and exaggerate his strength this significantly limits the reliability of the source. Yet Source 6 is directly from Henry VIII and thus flawlessly demonstrates the king’s opinion regarding the power of Wolsey and is the most reliable in determining whether Henry was surrendering his ...

This is a preview of the whole essay