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"Much joy and favour to you; you are the King’s now": Cardinal Wolsey as a Domestic Patron


Simon Edward John Lambe


This article explores the secular, political role of Renaissance cardinals through an analysis of the domestic agenda of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey as Lord Chancellor of England from 1515 to 1529, while positioning him within the context of his near contemporary English and continental cardinal-politicians. The article explores his domestic patronage in the early sixteenth century, especially his promotion of select individuals for preferment within the structure of early Tudor government; it is particularly concerned with the selection of personnel for Somerset’s commissions of the peace. The article stresses the importance of the household in selecting these individuals and discusses how these relationships were created and maintained. The article also explores Wolsey’s attitude towards the nobility and considers whether his relationship with Somerset can shed any light on whether he was hostile towards the aristocracy. The article demonstrates that Wolsey sought an alternative to dominant forces within the county structure through the employment of a broad group of reliable local knights rather than electing to forge a relationship with a single county representative. Finally, the article highlights the significant changes to the composition of England’s governing classes after Wolsey’s fall, with a clear shift from clerical to secular personnel.

How to Cite: Lambe, S.E.J., 2017. \"Much joy and favour to you; you are the King’s now\": Cardinal Wolsey as a Domestic Patron. Royal Studies Journal, 4(2), pp.161–176. DOI:
Published on 16 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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