Cardinal Wolsey was one of the most powerful people in England when Henry VII was on the throne. He was born in Ipswich in about 1475 and went to university at Oxford. He was made a priest in 1498 and then became the personal chaplain to Henry VII. After Henry VII died Cardinal Wolsey became the favourite of Henry VIII. He helped Henry plan an invasion of France, which was very successful. In 1515 he was made Lord Chancellor of England, which was the most powerful position in the country, as head of the government in charge of all the affairs of state. In the same year the Pope made him a cardinal.|
During his time in power Wolsey made many enemies and finally he fell out with Henry VIII as well. This was because he failed to get the Pope to agree to give Henry a divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon so that the king could marry Anne Boleyn. In 1529 Wolsey was charged with treason, which was punishable by execution. However, on his way to London to face trial he died.
As well as a great statesman, Wolsey is remembered as a patron of learning. At Oxford he founded a college, called 'Cardinal College' after himself. This is still the largest college in Oxford. He also appointed Nicholas Kratzer, the famous German mathematician, to a teaching post in Oxford at Corpus Christi College, next door to Cardinal College.