Thomas Wolsey

Movement English Reformation
Born Ipswitch, 1472
Died Leicester Abbey, 1530
Significance Served as Cardinal, archbishop of York, lord chancellor, and leading minister to Henry VIII. In 1518, he became legate a latere, or master of the English church and exercised extraordinary power over the church in England. Many critics claimed that he abused this power for his own gains. His efforts to reform the religious orders in England and the church itself made Wolsey unpopular in many circles. His reform efforts included the founding of a new college at Oxford as well. He also attacked Lutheranism. Luther’s books were banned and those suspected of “heresy were tried and executed.
In October of 1529, Henry VIII dismissed Wolsey. Henry’s motivations for the dismissal are debated, but he may have been trying to demonstrate to Clement VII, who refused to grant Henry an annulment from Catherine of Aragon, his supremacy over the church of England. Wolsey died at Leicester Abbey before he could be tried for treason.
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