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Archive for the tag “Leicester Abbey”

Is it time to exhume Cardinal Wolsey?

Thomas Wolsey was born in Ipswich, apparently in March 1473, to Joan Daundy and Robert Wolsey, who seems to have been a butcher and may possibly have been killed at Bosworth. Opposite his birthplace, in St. Nicholas’ Street, is this seated statue (below). His local achievements include Wolsey’s Gate and, after about 475 years, the University it was designed to be part of.

After a long career as Bishop of Bath and Wells, Lincoln, Winchester, Durham and finally Cardinal Archbishop of York, Wolsey was summoned to answer charges of treason, having failed to secure an annulment for Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. He died of a heart attack at Leicester Abbey on the penultimate day of November 1530, telling Abbot Richard Pescall: “Father abbott, I ame come hether to leave my bones among you”.

Just like Greyfriars a mile or so away, Leicester Abbey was dissolved about a decade later. Abbey Park stands on the site now and the generally designated site lies to the north, near the confluence of the Soar and the Grand Union Canal. There has been some Leicester University archaeology on the site and the Abbey plan has been marked out, including this grave marker (right).

So is it time to identify the remains of this Cardinal, just twenty years younger than Richard, to rebury them in a similar way in the same city? The church of St. Margaret is nearby.

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Cardinal Wolsey’s “angels” to go on display….

One of Wolsey's Bronze Angels

“Sculptures of angels designed for the tomb of Cardinal Wolsey and then lost for hundreds of years will go on display next week.

“The Wolsey Angels will be exhibited at New Walk Museum from Saturday, April 28, as part of a touring exhibition from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.”

This link also contains a very interesting video about the history of Leicester.

 

Wondering Where Wolsey Went….?

Cardinal-WolseyJPG

There are plans to look for evidence of the fishponds and orchards of the 12th-century abbey, in what is now Abbey Park, Leicester. There are also calls for this search to include seeking the tomb of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who died in Leicester in 1530.

His resting place was not left undisturbed for long, because the abbey suffered in the Dissolution. If they do look for Wolsey, it will be at least the third attempt. Nothing was found in 1820 or in the 1930s. Third time lucky?

However, judging by his statue, pictured above, I wonder if that is indeed what Wolsey looked like, i.e. permanently, nose-flaringly, furiously outraged. If so, perhaps he should be left quietly where he is.

 

 

After Richard, where’s Wolsey….?

Wolsey

Leicester has more than one ‘lost’ personage, although Richard III has to be the most important, of course. But Cardinal Wolsey has eluded discovery so far, as is revealed in a very interesting article from the Leicester Mercury of 20th April 2015.

http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/s-Wolsey-Richard-III-Leicester-starting-looking/story-26359810-detail/story.html

The perils of a fraternal career

Chapter 10 of Ashdown-Hill’s “The Last days …” (pp.92-7) describes the circumstances of Richard’s first burial in great detail and adds some intriguing points. Right at the beginning, we learn that Leicester’s Abbey, also lost and the burial place of fellow “Tudor” victim Thomas Wolsey, was more prestigious than the Greyfriars church. So why was the latter chosen?

Page 94 (and notes 10-11, p.189) indicate that these particular friars had a Yorkist leaning and that two of their number had been hanged for opposing Henry IV’s accession. We should remember that Henry ordered several summary executions at this juncture, including that of Archbishop Scrope who was Richard’s maternal kinsman.

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