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Cardinal Wolsey

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CARDINAL WOLSEY, HIS STAY AT SHEFFIELD MANOR.

In the district of Sheffield known as the Park, a few minutes walk from City Road, are the roofless walls of a once noble and richly furnished mansion. The building was commenced about 1516 by George, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, and stood about a mile from the Castle, amid the great oaks of a vast deer park.

Known as the Manor House, and sometimes referred to as the Lodge, it was connected with the Castle, which stood near Lady’s Bridge, by a noble avenue of walnut trees. To this place Cardinal Wolsey in 1530 came from York, sick, weary and old with service, a captive, and one of the greatest examples the world has ever witnessed of fallen greatness.

The house contained “a faire gallerye, decorated with armorial shields, and having a great bay window in the further end thereof and a goodly tower," where the Cardinal was lodged. In an account of the Norfolk Estate dealing with the demolition of the Manor House in 1709, mention is made of " Cardinal Wolsey’s Tower."

Before speaking of Wolsey’s stay at the Manor we give a few particulars of his wonderful rise, his immense power, and his pitiable fall, all reminding us that truth is stranger than fiction.

Born at Ipswich in 1475, Thomas Wolsey was son of a butcher and grazier, described as "an honest poor man." His father was, however, the owner of property, and able to send his son to Oxford, where he graduated at the early age of fifteen.

After ordination he was appointed to a rectory in Somerset, and after rendering some service to Henry VII., was rewarded with the Deanery of Lincoln. He was a dreamer of dreams, and ambition was a prevailing characteristic. He gained the favour of Henry VIII., who in the early years of his reign spent much of his time in hunting and other pleasures, leaving in great measure the management of Church and State alike to Wolsey who, with no small success, aimed at riches and self—aggrandisement.

Incredible as it may appear, Wolsey, at one time or another, came to possess the bishoprics of Durham, Lincoln, Bath and Wells, Winchester, _ the rich Abbey of St. Albans, and, not least, the Archbishopric of York, a diocese he never visited until a few weeks before his death, although he had been appointed sixteen years before.

Pensions and gifts from the continent brought to him large sums. He was the Pope’s Legate or representative in England, and in 1515 a cardinal’s hat was given him. He earnestly sought the Papacy, but missed the prize.

So in King Henry VIII. Shakespeare makes him say :— " That world of wealth I’ve drawn together for mine own ends; indeed to gain the popedom."

Wolsey became Chancellor of England in 1515 when practically all the power of the realm, spiritual and temporal, was in his hands, a power he exercised up to within a year of his death. Having discovered the remarkable abilities of Thomas Cromwell, he employed him in the work of visiting and breaking up the smaller monasteries.

His income from gifts, pensions and many rich posts was enormous. This enabled him to build York House (afterwards Whitehall), and acquire Hampton Court Palace in which for a time he lived in great state.

He was the founder of Christ Church, Oxford, on the building of which (incomplete at his death) he spent in one year more than £8,000, a sum equivalent to £100,000 in our day. In order to found this he suppressed forty-two abbeys and religious houses. He had eight hundred servants and attendants, including several knights.

For a long time he wielded more power than the King, and when at Court he sat beside Henry and Katherine the Queen at dinner, whilst, it is said, some of the proudest nobles in England held basins for him in which to wash his hands.

On reaching the age of thirty-six Henry, like most of his subjects, was growing tired of Wolsey, whose pride and arrogance had created a host of enemies. In procuring Bulls from Home and doing other wilful deeds, the Cardinal over-reached himself.

After pleading guilty to certain charges he threw himself on the mercy of the king who granted him a pardon, and restored to him the Archbishopric of York with its revenues. Although he had been appointed to York sixteen years before he had not hitherto visited the diocese.

He left his house at Richmond on the Thames for York, with a train of 160 persons and twelve luggage carts, in addition to which were sixty other carts with necessaries for his houses, etc.

Journeying by Peterborough, Stamford, Grantham, Newark, Worksop, Blyth, Newstead, and Rufford Abbey, at some of which he lodged awhile, he came to Southwell, where was one of his palaces.

After spending some time there he went on to Scrooby, when he officiated on Sundays in the churches near, and did many deeds of charity. He then proceeded to Cawood Castle, another of his archiepiscopal seats, and held some confirmations, after which he arranged to be installed and enthroned at York, which, however, was not to be.

On Friday, November 4, 1530, Percy, Earl of Northumberland, a former pupil of Wolsey, and Walter Walsh of the Privy Council, suddenly arrived at Cawood with a company, and demanded the keys, which the porter refused to give up. The Cardinal, little anticipating what was in store for him, regretted that he had no notice of the Earl’s coming, and took him to his bedchamber. Here the Earl, with trembling hands, seized the Cardinal and said in a faint voice: " My lord, I arrest you of high treason."

Wolsey, astonished and speechless, surrendered himself, bidding his friends and tenants farewell.

When the arrest was known, crowds ran after Wolsey cursing his enemies. He was taken the same evening to Pontefract, the next day to Doncaster, and on Tuesday arrived at Sheffield, where he spent about eighteen days in a state of deep dejection. So, as Hunter observes, “Sheffield was peculiarly a witness of his humiliation”.

George Cavendish, the faithful and devoted servant of Wolsey both in prosperity and adversity, was with him during his stay in Sheffield, and remained with him up to his death, after which he retired to his quiet home in Suffolk.

This George Cavendish was the eldest brother of Sir William Cavendish, the builder of Chatsworth, whose third wife Elizabeth, was the noted Bess of Hardwick. At the age of twenty- six George Cavendish became " gentleman usher " to Wolsey, who said that he " abandoned his own country, wife, and children, his own house and family, his rest and quietness, only to serve me."

Cavendish wrote a Life of Wolsey, which long remained in manuscript, and of which there are several MS. copies. One at York Minster was carefully examined by Hunter, the historian of Hallamshire, who gives from it several extracts.

In this Cavendish manifests his personal affection for and devotion to his master. Whilst giving a graphic picture of Wolsey’s doings he was not blind to his faults as his closing words testify :—

" Here is the end and fall of pride and arrogancy of men, exalted by fortune to dignity; for I assure you, in his time, he was the haughtiest man in all his proceedings alive; having more respect to the honour of his person than he had to his spiritual profession; wherein should be shewed all meekness, humility and charity."

Here are some extracts from the manuscript of Cavendish, the spelling of which I have modernised:

" The next day my lord removed toward Doncaster, and came into the town by torchlight ; the which was his desire because of the people. Yet notwithstanding the people were assembled and cried out, ‘God save your Grace, God save your Grace, my good Lord Cardinal,’ running before him with candles in their hands .... And thus they brought him to the Black Friars, within the which he was lodged.

And the next day we removed and rode to Sheffield park, where my lord of Shrewsbury lay within the lodge, the people all the way thitherward still lamenting him, crying as they did before. And when we came into the park, nigh to the lodge, my lord of Shrewsbury with my lady and a train of gentlewomen, and all other his gentlemen and servants, stood without the gates to attend my lord’s coming, to receive him.

At whose alighting the Earl received him with much honour, and embraced my lord, saying these words: ‘ My lord, your Grace is most heartily welcome unto me, and I am glad to see you here in my poor lodge, where I have long desired to see you, and should have been much more gladder if you had come after another sort.’

‘Ay, my gentle Lord of Shrewsbury’ said my lord, ‘ I heartily thank you and although I have cause to lament, yet as a faithful heart may, I do rejoice that my chance is to come unto the custody of so noble a person . . . I beseech God to help me.’

‘ My Lord,’ replied Shrewsbury, ‘be of good cheer and fear not . . . for I will not receive you as a prisoner but as my good lord, and the King’s true and faithful subject. And, sir, here is my wife come to salute you ; ’ whom my lord kissed with his cap in his hand bare-headed, and all the other gentlemen ....

This done the two lords went into the Lodge arm-in-arm, and so conducted my lord into a fair gallery where was in the further end thereof a goodly tower with lodgings where my lord was lodged ....

My lord Shrewsbury appointed divers worthy gentlemen to attend continually to foresee that he should lack nothing that he would desire, being served in his own chamber at dinner and supper, as honourably and with as many dainty dishes as he had in his own house. And once every day my lord of Shrewsbury would repair unto him and commune with him, sitting upon a bench in a great window in the gallery. And although that my said lord of Shrewsbury would right heartily comfort him yet would he lament so pitiously that it would make my lord of Shrewsbury to be very heavy for his grief."

Cavendish proceeds to give in detail what subsequently took place, specially naming the Cardinal’s sickness and great depression of spirits; and also the tender care with which Shrewsbury treated his captive guest, and how he sought to comfort him.

Wolsey became very weak, and it was felt that, unless he had some help shortly, he could not live many days. In reply to inquiries as to his health, he said: "Forsooth no more I am. I am suddenly taken above my stomach with a thing that lieth over my chest with an overweight, my breast as cold as a wet stone." His fatal illness is supposed to have been a severe attack of English cholera. It was rumoured that he had been poisoned, but of this there is no evidence.

Meanwhile Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower of London, had arrived at Sheffield with twenty-four of the guards. On this being made known to Wolsey, his sickness increased, and he said: " I know what is provided for me; notwithstanding which I thank you for your goodwill and pains."

Kingston, intending to take Wolsey to the Tower, left Sheffield and brought him to another of Shrewsbury’s seats at Hardwick, near Newstead—not the Derbyshire Hardwick.

Next day he rode to Nottingham, and on the following day came to Leicester Abbey. He was then so extremely weak that he was near falling off the mule on which he was riding.

We resume the narrative in the words of Cavendish: " It was night before we came to the Abbey of Leicester, where at the coming in at the gate the Abbot with all his convent met him with divers torches light, whom they rig it honourably received and welcomed with great reverence. To whom my lord said, ‘Father Abbot, I am come hither to leave my bones among you’: riding so until he came to the stairs of his chamber where he alighted from his mule: and then Master Kingston took him by the arm and led him upstairs ....

As soon as he was in his chamber he went incontinent to his bed, very sick. This was upon Saturday at night: and then continued he sicker and sicker."

Early the next morning Wolsey asked for some meat, and Cavendish roused the cook for some "cullis made of chicken."

Kingston then came to him, bade him good morrow and asked how he did, when he replied " Sir, I tarry but pleasure of God to render up my poor soul into His hands ..... I pray you to have me most humbly commended unto his royal majesty, and beseech him in my behalf to recall to his princely remembrance all matters that have been between us from the beginning and the progress .....

I do assure you I have often kneeled before him some three hours together, to persuade him from his will and appetite, but could not prevail ....

And, Master Kingston, had I but served God as diligently as I have served the king he would not have given me over in my grey hairs. But this is the just reward that I must receive for my diligent pains and study that I have had to do him service; not regarding my service to God but only to my Prince."

Wolsey passed away on the morning of November 29, 1530, in his sixtieth year, and the mayor and aldermen of Leicester were sent for to confirm the fact and time of death.

The body was taken into the Lady Chapel of the Abbey, and early the next morning it was interred. Later on the Abbey was involved in the common ruin which befell all the monasteries, and the site was sold to the Earl of Huntingdon, who built a mansion out of the old materials.

Local antiquaries have made fruitless searches for the spot where the Cardinal was buried, but it still remains unknown. The spacious grounds of the Abbey now form part of the Town Park of Leicester.

(From Historic Personages in Sheffield, from Waltheof to Wolsey, by Rev W Odom)

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You forgot the portrait :)

Thank you Gramps, all kind contributions gratefully received! he he

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We now know that Wolsey stayed next to the site toilet so probably got food poisoning from eating there, which lead to his death.

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Wolsey had gone forth for his last journey and "waxed sick that he had almost fallen from his mule".

Source

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We now know that Wolsey stayed next to the site toilet so probably got food poisoning from eating there, which lead to his death.

He was (supposedly) ill before his arrival in Sheffield- read here.

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He was (supposedly) ill before his arrival in Sheffield- read here.

Of Wolsey's subsequent residence at Cawood, we find in this manuscript, an

'item to David Vincent, by the king's warrant, for his charge, being sent to Cawood, in the north contrie, at suche time as the cardenall was sicke.'

As the sum charged was considerable namely, £35, 6s. 8d. (more than £200 present money) we may infer, perhaps, that the messenger, whom Cavendish styles his 'fellow Vincent,' made some stay there, watching the progress of Wolsey's illness, and sending intelligence to the king, who was more anxious for the death than for the life of his victim, in order that he might seize upon the remains of his movables.

http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/nov/29.htm

All, very possibly, complete rubbish ...

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All, very possibly, complete rubbish ...

In October 1529, Wolsey was officially stripped of the office of Lord Chancellor, and was required to return the Great Seal. Desperately trying to avoid indictment, Wolsey gave the King most of his property, including York Place, himself retiring to a modest house in Esher, Surrey. York Place was to be renovated, renamed Whitehall, and given to Anne Boleyn. In November Wolsey begged the King for mercy, and Henry, placated, placed Wolsey under his personal protection. Just after Christmas, Wolsey fell ill and was thought to be dying. The King sent him a message saying he "would not lose him for £20,000", and the Cardinal's health improved.

Source

Not a lot of evidence as to when and where, but, he wasn't a well man for some while ... Just after Christmas would be 1530 - he died in November.

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Source - Lot of illness around, even for the wealthy :

an outbreak of the sweating sickness in June—Anne was sent away from London, and the plague. Wolsey, taking this as a sign of God's wrath at the proceedings, wrote to Henry to ask him to drop the annulment suit. Henry, outraged, is said to have exclaimed he would have given “a thousand Wolseys for one Anne Boleyn.”

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AFTER our departure from Cawood we

came to Doncaster ; the third day we

came to Sheffield Park, where my Lord

of Shrewsbury lived within the Lodge, and the

Earl and his lady and a great company of gentle-

women and servants stood without the gate to

attend my Lord's coming, at whose alighting the

Earl received him with much honour, and em-

bracing him, said these words :

My Lord, you are most heartily welcome to

my poor Lodge, and I am glad to see you.'

Here my Lord stayed a fortnight, and was most

nobly entertained ; he spent most of his time and

applied his mind to prayers continually, in great

devotion. It came to pass as he sat one day at

dinner, I, being there, perceived his colour divers

times to change. I asked if he was not well. He

answered me with a loud voice :

' I am suddenly taken with a thing at my

stomach, and am not well. Therefore take up the

table and make a short dinner, and return to me

again at once.'

I made but little stay, but came to him again,

and found him still sitting very ill at ease. He

desired me to go to the apothecary and ask him

if he had anything that would break wind upwards.

He told me he had ; then I went and showed the

same to my Lord, who did command me to give

him some thereof, and so I did, and it made him

break wind exceedingly.

' Lo,' quoth he, ' you may see it was but the

wind, for now I thank God I am well eased.'

And so he arose from the table and went to

prayers, as he used every day after dinner.

Wriiten by his Usher

-----------------

Martyr to it myself ...

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Wasn't he getting on a bit? So he would have had trouble anyway. Plus he was overweight ;-) And so housing him in next to the site toilet would have finished him off. Anyone in a weak state already he wouldn't have been able to fight off those nasty germs that would have been present from being lodged in the place still called by his name.

The trouble with historical documents you quote Richard is they don't mention the loo in this case. Indeed it wasn't found till Pauline Beswick dug it up in the 1980's. It was in the base of a tower, it was on two levels, but it was just a pit that filled up. When it got to high or more likely to smelly, a bloke knocked a hole in the wall and the lot went down the hill. :(:blink:

By the way Mary Stuart Queen of Scots, probably didn't use it. As the inventory of the 1580's list lots of high class "stools" for that purpose.

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Wasn't he getting on a bit? So he would have had trouble anyway. Plus he was overweight ;-) And so housing him in next to the site toilet would have finished him off. Anyone in a weak state already he wouldn't have been able to fight off those nasty germs that would have been present from being lodged in the place still called by his name.

The trouble with historical documents you quote Richard is they don't mention the loo in this case. Indeed it wasn't found till Pauline Beswick dug it up in the 1980's. It was in the base of a tower, it was on two levels, but it was just a pit that filled up. When it got to high or more likely to smelly, a bloke knocked a hole in the wall and the lot went down the hill. :(:blink:

By the way Mary Stuart Queen of Scots, probably didn't use it. As the inventory of the 1580's list lots of high class "stools" for that purpose.

Any more details on Pauline Beswick and the findings please ? or have I missed something.

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Interesting question as to his age. Canon Odom says he was born in 1475, and died in 1530, in his sixtieth year. I make it 55, not 60?

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Interesting question as to his age. Canon Odom says he was born in 1475, and died in 1530, in his sixtieth year. I make it 55, not 60?

I've seem a lot of 1473 mentioned making him 57 or 59 (depending on his actual date of birth).

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Any more details on Pauline Beswick and the findings please ? or have I missed something.

Pauline was the person in charge of the dig. She told me they had uncovered the toilet block which is incorprated into Wolsey's Tower, which is the only Tower built at the time of Wolsey and also the historical documents mention a new tower. Last time I heard anything the Friends of Manor Lodge Group were after some money to get the old reports of the archaeological digs written up. The toilet area can still be seen in the remains of the tower even today, plus where the plank of wood fitted into the brickwork to take the seat with the whole(s) in it.

The Manor Lodge was much smaller at the time of Wolsey. It had the Wolsey Tower at one end, then the Long Gallery linking it to other buiding at the end, which is mostly gone. All the other structures on the site mostly date to the rebuilding phase after 1580 to create a a "Royal Palace" for Mary Stuart.

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Pauline was the person in charge of the dig. She told me they had uncovered the toilet block which is incorprated into Wolsey's Tower, which is the only Tower built at the time of Wolsey and also the historical documents mention a new tower. Last time I heard anything the Friends of Manor Lodge Group were after some money to get the old reports of the archaeological digs written up. The toilet area can still be seen in the remains of the tower even today, plus where the plank of wood fitted into the brickwork to take the seat with the whole(s) in it.

The Manor Lodge was much smaller at the time of Wolsey. It had the Wolsey Tower at one end, then the Long Gallery linking it to other buiding at the end, which is mostly gone. All the other structures on the site mostly date to the rebuilding phase after 1580 to create a a "Royal Palace" for Mary Stuart.

Thank you for the update History Dude - maybe I need to read more about the old place ...

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You need only ask me Richard. I was the chairperson of the first friends group for a while, even the present chair asks me sometimes questions relating to it! You can use the thread about it to ask me anything Manor Lodge related.

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Before we begin, I'd like to say this probably adds nothing at all to the dicussion by way of new "facts", it is, however dated 1755 and therefore deserves a place here just by virtue of being very old ...

Scroll down to see the rest (if the link works)

http://books.google....0poison&f=false

Lord only knows what that link is doing - anyway scroll up to page 25 and read on.

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