The Rise of Thomas Wolsey

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The Rise of Thomas Wolsey Wolsey took the attention of Henry VII, who appointed his as a chaplain in 1507. During the next two years he was employed on minor missions to Scotland and the Netherlands, and his career was promoted by Bishop Foxe of Winchester, whom he quickly eclipsed. In 1509 he became Royal Almoner to the young Henry VIII, a post which automatically made him a member of the Council, and before long he had made himself indispensable to the King by his organisation of the French expeditions of 1513. Thereafter, there was no stopping him: he was Bishop of Tournai in France in 1514-18, Archbishop of York in 1514-30; Chancellor from 1515 to 1529; and Cardinal for life from 1515, following Henry VIII's pressure at Rome. In 1518 Wolsey was also appointed Legate a latere by the Pope, which meant that he now outranked his last opponent in the Church--the ancient Archbishop Warham at Canterbury--and had the authority to reform both the secular church and the monastic system, to grant
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decrees and to appoint to benefices. It made Wolsey `the proudest church-man that ever breathed', second in power only to the King himself: and even that was a close-run thing. How was Wolsey able to rise to power so quickly under Henry VIII? Luck Wolsey was very much a man in the right place at the right time. The new King was young, fun-loving and, truth be told, rather lazy. His conception of Kingship was embodied in all-action heroes like King Henry V rather than frugal administrators like his own father, Henry VII. Nevertheless, he was not prepared to leave ...

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