Who was Thomas Wolsey? When did Thomas Wolsey rise in the Tudor court?




  • MARCH Thomas Wolsey was born the son of Robert Wolsey of Ipswich and his wife Joan Daundy, in Suffolk England
  • Thomas father becomes a butcher and cattle dealer
  • 10TH MARCH Thomas was ordained as a priest in Marlborough, Wiltshire
  • Thomas is rector to The Church of Saint Mary in Limington, Somerset
  • Thomas became chaplain to Henry Deane, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • 15TH FEBRUARY Henry Deane, Archbishop of Canterbury died.
  • Thomas went and worked for Sir Richard Nanfan, treasurer of Calais.
  • Thomas became associated with Richard Foxe.
  • Thomas entered the service of King Henry VII as his chaplain. He also becomes secretary to Richard Foxe who was the Bishop of Winchester
  • April Thomas Wolsey was sent to Scotland to discuss with King James IV rumours of the renewal of the Auld Alliance
  • APRIL King Henry VII is dead and now his son Henry is king.
  • 24TH JUNE The coronation of King Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon. The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham, presented Henry to his people who acclaimed him by calling out “Vivat, vivat rex!“, or “Long Live the King!”, four times.
  • Henry VIII appointed Thomas to the post of Almoner, a position that gave him a seat on the Privy Council
  • Thomas Larke was chaplain to Thomas Wolsey. Larke is the brother of Thomas’s mistress Joan.
  • Thomas Wynter, Thomas illegitimate son is born from his mistress Joan Larke.
  • Paolo Cortese publishes De Cardinalatu, a manual for cardinals, including advice on palatial architecture – which inspires Thomas Wolsey in his construction work at Hampton Court Palace.
  • Thomas becomes a Canon of Windsor, Cannon of Windsor’s are the ecclesiastical body of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
  • Dorothy, Thomas illegitimate daughter is born another child from his mistress Joan Larke
  • SUMMER Catherine of Aragon. writes to Thomas asking for the captured Louis d' Orléans, Duke of Longueville, that Henry sent from France to stay with her, to stay in the Tower of London instead while she was in Battle in Scotland.
  • Thomas is The Dean of York
  • Thomas is Bishop of Lincoln
  • Thomas purchases the site, for the building of Hampton Court Palace.
  • 15TH SEPTEMBER Thomas is Archbishop of York
  • 3RD MARCH Charles Brandon Married the Mary Tudor Queen dowager of France, the sister of King Henry VIII of England. Technically, this was treason as Charles Brandon had married a royal princess without King Henrys consent
  • Charles Brandon informs Thomas of His marriage to Princess Mary. Thomas then informs King Henry who is outraged. Thomas helps saves Charles from Being executed. the couple got off easily and were charged only with a heavy fine of £24,000 to be paid to the King in yearly instalments of £1000, as well as the whole of Mary's dowry from King Louis XII of £200,000, together with her plate and jewels
  • Thomas is given the political office of Lord High Chancellor
  • 18TH NOVEMBER The Pope Leo X makes Thomas a cardinal in Westminster Abbey,
  • Sebastian Giustinian, went to see Thomas about his concerns tell him that he heard rumours that the "people would rise and kill the foreigners on May Day. There had been bill posted on the doors of St Paule cathedral by John Lincoln, complaining that "the foreigners" were given too much favour by the king and council. It claimed that "the foreigners" had "bought wool's to the undoing of Englishmen"
  • 19TH APRIL Thomas ordered the Lord Mayor and the city officers to enforce a curfew on the eve of May Day.
  • Evil May Day Riot
  • 6TH MAY John Lincoln is executed hung, drawn and quartered.
  •  The other captured rioters were sent to Westminster Hall to be seen by the king. Thomas fell on his knees and begged the king to show compassion while the prisoners themselves called out "Mercy, Mercy!" Eventually, the king relented and granted them pardon
  • Thomas was made Papal Legate in England
  • Thomas is Bishop of Bath and Wells
  • Treaty of London, which was organized by Thomas. This was a non-aggression pact among the major European nations. The signatories were Burgundy, France, England, the Holy Roman Empire, the Netherlands, the Papal States and Spain, all of whom agreed not to attack one another and to come to the aid of any that were under attack.
  • Cheshunt Great House is owned by Thomas.
  • Thomas Cromwell is one of Thomas council
  • SPRING Thomas sending "visitors" to various monasteries in order to record the conditions and habits of the monks. The reports suggested that various levels of disorder and abuse were taking place.
  • JUNE the Christening of King Henry VIII illegitimate son Henry FitzRoy. Thomas is Godfather to the child.
  • King Henry VIII shows Thomas his own written work on "The Defense of the Seven Sacraments”
  • JUNE The Field of Cloth and Gold. In France organized by Thomas. An event for Henry VIII of England and Francis 1st France to meet and strengthen their bond.
  • George Cavendish enters Thomas service as gentleman-usher. George would be remembered for writing a biography on Thomas,
  • Thomas is made Prince-Bishop of Durham
  • Thomas recommends Thomas More for Knight of the shire for (MP) for Middlesex
  • APRIL Thomas dissolved Priory of St Frideswide, Oxford to use its premises, together with those of other adjacent religious houses, to found a new college to be called Cardinal College
  • King Henry VIII England becomes involved with Anne Boleyn
  • Thomas suppressed the Priory of St Frideswide in Oxford and founded Cardinal College on its lands, using funds from the dissolution of Wallingford Priory and other minor priories. The funds of this went towards Thomas’s project Cardinal College
  • The Amicable Grant was a tax imposed on England by the Thomas.
  • JANUARY The Eltham Ordinance. This was a failed reform of the English court of Henry VIII by Thomas
  • Thomas drafts the Treaty of Hampton
  • Thomas ordered the burning of Lutheran books.
  • 6TH MAY The  Sack of Rome. Which was a military event carried out by the mutinous troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome, then part of the Papal States
  • Thomas, Thomas More and the Earl of Derby visited Stone Castle
  • 10TH SEPTEMBER William Knight saw Thomas at Compiegne
  • Thomas Wolsey wrote to the Pope asking for the papal legate, Lorenzo Campeggio, is to be sent to England to pass judgement on the king’s marriage
  • JULY: Peter Compton, the son of William Compton goes into Thomas ‘s wardship.
  • Thomas began to limit the benefit of clergy.
  • William Tyndale's The Obedience of a Christian Man is a book that was confiscated by Thomas when it fell into his hand by accident through Anne Boleyn’s lady-in-waiting Anne Gainsford. Anne Boleyn complained to the king about Thomas Keeping the book, and thus the King ordered that Thomas return the confiscated book.
  • Elizabeth Barton held a private meeting with Thomas Wolsey. Elizabeth was known as the “Nun of Kent” and was getting a reputation for her claimed visions. Elizabeth was executed in 1534, for making up false prophesies about King Henry VIII of England.
  • Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby accompanies Thomas on a mission to France.
  • OCTOBER Building work began on Ipswich school, a project of Thomas’s. The money came from the ''suppressing' local religious houses such as Rumburgh Priory
  • Lorenzo Campeggio arrived in London and held the first of many sessions with Thomas and King Henry VIII, the first English King to sue before a papal judge in person
  • Thomas is made Bishop of Winchester
  • Thomas Cromwell is secretary most senior and trusted advisers to Thomas.
  • Edmund Bonner is Thomas’s chaplain.
  • 31ST APRIL Trial to investigate Henry VIII case for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. was opened at Blackfriars.
  • 21ST JUNE Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon., appeared in front of Cardinal Wolsey and Cardinal Campeggio at the Legatine Court at Blackfriars.
  • 19TH SEPTEMBER: Thomas meets with King Henry VIII of England at the King’s hunting lodge at Grafton, near Milton Keynes, where the two of them had lengthy meetings together
  • 9TH OCTOBER Thomas is was charged with praemunire (The offence of introducing foreign authority into England)
  • 18TH OCTOBER Thomas hands over the great seal of
  • Lord Chancellor, now Thomas More is the new Lord Chancellor. Thomas is stripped of his Properties including Hampton Court Palace.
  • 4TH NOVEMBER Thomas is arrested. Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland, order Thomas to return to London and answer charges on the grounds of high treason.
  • 29TH NOVEMBER Thomas Wolsey died in Leicester, Leicester Abbey Leicestershire, England at the age of fifty-seven.
Thomas Wolsey was buried in Leicester Abbey (now Abbey Park)


  • Thomas Wolsey, was a cardinal, an Archbishop of York and also chief advisor and Lord Chancellor to King Henry the VIII of England.


  • Thomas received an education at Ipswich School and Magdalen College School before studying theology at Magdalen College, Oxford.


  • Thomas is believed to have worked as a bursar before becoming a priest.


  • Thomas also helps to make big changes to how taxes were collected in England. He changed the taxation system so that the poor did not pay as much as the rich.


  • Thomas had skills in diplomacy. This made him assent to the king when it came to manage political alliances. It helped Thomas rise up the ladder in the court and bring him to certain people’s attention and be heard. He could organize great events “The Field of Cloth and Gold”. The only thing Thomas struggle to achieve for the King was his annulment to Catherine of Aragon.


  • It is believed that Thomas helped to destroy or neutralize the influence of other courtiers. He helped cause the fall of Edward Stafford, the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, in 1521. In 1527 he prosecuted King Henry's VIII England’s close friend William Compton and Henry's ex-mistress Anne Stafford, the Countess of Huntingdon, through the ecclesiastical courts for adultery.


  • Many believe it was when he didn’t achieve the results in King Henry VIII divorce that led to Thomas’s fall from grace. Helped by those who despised him at the court. There were those in the court who grew jealous of Thomas. It had been claimed that for several years Thomas Wolsey was the most powerful man in the land apart from Henry VIII. Thomas built a palace like a king “Hampton Court”, made decisions of a king and had a growing wealth of a king. To some nobles, he was just the son of Butchers boy, yet was in offices that would be expected from nobles.


  • Thomas had his palaces and colleges confiscated by the crown as a punishment for his offenses. He retired to a house in York. Thomas attempted to began secretly negotiating with foreign powers in an attempt to get their support in persuading King Henry VIII to restore him to favour. This made matters worse, as his enemies were aware of what he was doing.


  • Henry Percy, the 6th Earl of Northumberland, who was sent to arrest Thomas in 1530, had been in the past, not only a page in Thomas’s Household but also had been romantically linked with Anne Boleyn prior to her relationship with King Henry VIII England. However, by the time Henry Percy came to arrest him, Thomas was in ill health and died before reaching the trial.




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