Posted By Claire on October 18, 2017
On this day in history, 18th October 1529, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey surrendered the Great Seal of his Lord Chancellorship following the writ of praemunire being filed against him on the 9th October 1529.
Jean du Bellay, the French ambassador, recorded this in a letter to Anne, Duke of Montmorency, written on 22nd October:
“On Tuesday the great seal was taken from him, and an inventory was made of his goods, and commands were issued to every one who had been in his service these 20 years to render an account of all that they have touched. This they have found difficult, because, not a sixth part being found of what was expected, they are well assured to have many “tours de corde.” He was also ordered to reply before the King or Parliament, and thinking, what is quite true, that the Bishops had already chosen judges after their own liking for the said Parliament, he preferred to put himself in the mercy of the King; of which nevertheless he hoped less than nothing, being used with such severity that, in addition to the loss of all his goods and honors, he expects to be perpetually imprisoned, and that neither the King nor Parliament will ever revoke his sentence. The points of which he is accused are robberies and exactions, but these would not be mortal offences. They say at Amiens he agreed to admit the duke of Ferrara into the League, without the knowledge of the King; that he delivered to Francis a bond under his hand without authority; that he made intimation of war to the Emperor, &c. The least of these things, they say, will cost his head; and I fully believe that if Francis and Madame do not help him in all diligence, he is in great danger. He would like Francis and Madame to send a gentleman hither in all diligence, by whom they would represent what you wrote on the 16th, without specifying further, or giving the least intimation that it was at his request, otherwise it will be immediate death to him. He begs Francis, for the mercy of God, thus to protect him from the fury of his enemies, who would bring his old age to the most shameful and miserable end. For my part, though I have no business to meddle further, or to give my advice, I will say little, knowing that where affection and pity reign the judgment is apt to be biassed. The duke of Norfolk was (is made ?) chief of the Council, &c.”