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Extra info for Access to History. Henry VIII to Mary I: Government and Religion, 1509-1558

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G. the limited finances in the Treasury, the influence of Warham • the role of Wolsey in Church, State and foreign affairs between 1514 and 1529 • the resurgent power of France after 1515 that threatened England’s security • the growing French influence in Scotland after the death of James V • the emergence of Lutheranism and Henry VIII’s attachment to the Catholic faith. Answers need to be balanced whereby key personality traits are identified and linked to specific aims in both domestic and foreign affairs.

Key question What kind of man was Wolsey? Introduction The career of Cardinal Wolsey was one of the most amazing episodes in an amazing reign. Thomas Wolsey was born the son of a butcher in Ipswich in 1470 or 1471. From these lowly origins he defied all the rules of social mobility by becoming the richest and most powerful man in England besides the king. It has often been claimed that he acted as the effective ruler of the country (as an alter rex) for the 15 years up to his fall in 1529. At the height of his influence, in the mid-1520s, his word was almost law and it was widely understood both at home and abroad that there was little point in attempting to secure any royal favour except through him.

Lord Chancellor He was not satisfied with the reality of power: he also wished to be seen to be wielding it. He was therefore insistent that Henry should appoint him to the senior office of state, the lord chancellorship. But as was normal in most public affairs at the time when Wolsey was not the decision maker, it took a long time for the intention to become the deed. Although Wolsey was the de facto chief minister by the middle of 1514, it was not until the 42 | Henry VIII to Mary I: Government and Religion 1509–58 next year that Henry was prepared to request the resignation of Archbishop Warham, the current lord chancellor, and to appoint Wolsey in his place.

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