thomas wolsey statue in Ipswich town centre

THOMAS WOLSEY

We’ve explored Thomas Wolsey’s ambitions for Ipswich in previous Culture365 posts, but today we’re taking a closer look at Wolsey himself.

Wolsey was born in Ipswich in March 1473, and his father was widely thought to have been a butcher or cattle dealer. These humble beginnings would serve Wolsey well, as Henry VII introduced measures to curb the power of the nobility, instead favouring those from modest backgrounds.

During his fourteen years of chancellorship, due to his close relationship with King Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey had more power than any other Crown servant in English history. From 1515 to 1529, Wolsey’s rule was undisputed. Henry VIII delegated more and more state business to him, including near-complete control of England’s foreign policy.

Traces of Wolsey’s links to Ipswich can be seen to this day, with a number of places in the town named after the chancellor, including a pub, and of course, the New Wolsey Theatre.

Walk in Wolsey’s footsteps. Plan a trip to the town with All About Ipswich.