29 November 1530 – The death of a cardinal and statesman
Posted By Claire on November 29, 2016
On this day in history, 29th November 1530, at around 8 o’clock in the morning, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, King Henry VIII’s former chief adviser, died at the Abbey of St Mary de Pratis in Leicester.
Wolsey had been on his way to London from Cawood Castle, his residence as Archbishop of York, when he was taken ill with dysentery at Sheffield. He had rallied enough to travel on to Leicester but was to go no further. Instead of answering the charges of high treason laid against him in London, and probably becoming a victim of the headsman, Wolsey died in a house of God and was buried at the abbey.
Click here to read more about Cardinal Wolsey’s death and click here to read more about his life and career.
4 thoughts on “29 November 1530 – The death of a cardinal and statesman”
Erm, how would one go about beheading such a gargantuan figure as this cardinal? Should one not send to France for the sword?
Some say Wolsley had lost the will to live, certainly the misfortune he had suffered from after falling out of favour with the King would have been responsible for the depression he would have been feeling, once he had been the power behind the throne and in fact practically ruled England when the King was young and just inherited the throne, now he had been effectively pushed aside by Anne Boleyn and it must have been terrible for him in his last days to contemplate how far he had fallen, it may have been a saving grace that he died before he could face trial and imprisonment for treason, certainly he would have suffered death as Anne and her family would not have allowed him to live, we can all sympathise with this once great statesman for he had been a loyal friend to Henry V111 and had tried to secure the divorce for him, it had not happened and as a result he lost the deep and abiding affection that Henry had once had for him, he had allowed Anne to poison his mind against him, Weir mentions that Henry was quite suggestible, his behaviour during Wolsleys fall from grace does seem to suggest this, it seems that once he had decided some one had not done right by him, then their days were numbered, several years later it happened to Wolsleys successor Cromwell, another brilliant statesman who also tried his best to serve his King, the painting of the cardinal is very impressive it shows him how he must have looked at the height of his fame and power, all omnipotent.
I have always believed that Henry had no intention of executing Wolsey. Had this been four years later and the act of succession and treason updated, maybe, but Henry was not yet going down that route. He was still willing to show people mercy. I still think he would have arrested, imprisoned and then pardoned Wolsey. Henry had changed his mind on what to do with him before. I am also certain that Henry was saddened by his old mentors death, but also it meant he was spared the looming decisions.
Yes he knew he had lost a valued servant there, he must also at times felt in the middle with Wolsey at one end and Anne at the other harping on about how he couldn’t be trusted, he had know Wolsley longer than Anne and I believe he did regret his death, he must have felt some sadness and he never attended the revels that Anne and her family staged on hearing the news of his demise.