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Thomas Wolsey: Finance and Parliament

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Josh Gorringe

on 20 November 2012

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Transcript of Thomas Wolsey: Finance and Parliament

Introduction of subsidies Wolsey's Reform of Finance Previously, the main form of tax was a medieval system of “Fifteenths and Tenths”.

•Based on property and moveable goods.

•Clergy paid 1/10th on value of land, and Laity paid 1/15th.

•Failed it had become a fixed sum of money per county- it no longer generated a useful income.
To overcome the issues of the medieval taxation, Wolsey introduced Subsidies.

• System was based on financial income.

• 1s per £ of income - a 5% tax.

• This was a more realistic and fairer tax on the upper classes and it raised considerably more money.

• It was levied in 1513, ’14, ’15 and ’23. Overall it raised around £300k.
Parliament Parliament would not give in to Wolsey's demands and eventually, Wolsey had to settle for only 2s per £. Wolsey was met by strong resistance from Parliament. Wolsey addressed Parliament in person and also kept them seated for longer than normal. Wolsey demanded a tax of 4s per £ on incomes in lands or goods of £20 p.a. Wolsey This was in order to raise £800k for Henry's war with France between 1523 and 1524. Wolsey tried to appeal to a sense of patriotism in raising the money for a noble cause for King and Country Successes Failures Judgement Wolsey Kept Henry Happy Maintained Power A Financial Legacy Henry Could Not Go To War In 1525 Wolsey was humiliated when he had to take responsibility for the failure of the Amicable Grant Wolsey grew increasingly unpopular amongst the Nobility and Parliament because of the high taxation and high demands 1523 1524 1525 1514 1522 1513 Before Wolsey... Success As usual, it was resented by the propertied and Nobility.

However, combined with taxes on the Clergy it was very useful for Wolsey and Henry's revenue.

Ultimately, it was a great success for Wolsey, and subsidies continued to be used after his death. Second War With France When war broke out with FRA again in 1522 the treasury was empty.

Wolsey used emergency measures; he collected Forced Loans from the wealthy and propertied classes.

They resented this and Wolsey’s popularity amongst the political and propertied classes began to decline.

However through the money Wolsey raised, Henry was kept happy with Wolsey’s progress and so his position remained safe. Wolsey & Parliament Wolsey’s policy of appeasing Henry by allowing him to go to war, suffered setbacks in 1523. Wolsey needed even more money and so he called Parliament. A heated debate on taxation ensued. Parliament overpowered Wolsey in this decision and this was a significant failure for Wolsey as it proved that he was not totally dominant in Government. The treasury was empty again, but Henry still wanted to construct an expeditionary force. Wolsey implemented the Amicable Grant to supplement revenue. It was an arbitrary forced loan on both the Clergy and Laity, depending on the valuation of their property in lands or goods. In order to prevent the loan being rejected, Wolsey bypassed Parliament. When Wolsey’s commissioners left to collect the tax in May 1525 they were met by very large resistance and near rebellion in East Anglia and Kent. The Amicable Grant Wolsey was forced to kneel before Henry and beg for forgiveness. As a result,Wolsey was humiliated by having to pay legal fees for all those imprisoned after rioting and ultimately upset Henry as Wolsey had failed to raise enough money to fund Henry’s war effort. Appease Henry Maintain Personal Power Wolsey's Aims Wolsey needed to raise enough money to allow Henry to go to war with France whenever Henry wanted.

He also needed to allow Henry to avoid Financial work Wolsey had his personal interests as his prioity. This meant keeping Henry happy, showing his dominance over Parliament and the Nobles and increasing revenues Wolsey: Finance & Parliament Up until 1525, Wolsey managed to appease Henry by granting him the funds to go to war. During this period, Wolsey, despite failures and becoming unpopular, maintained his position of "Alter Rex". Subsidies modernized the taxation system in England which had been unchanged for centuries. Subsidies continued to be used after his death Wolsey’s popularity amongst the political and propertied classes declined during the period 1513-1525 as Wolsey was forced to use more aggressive measures of taxation and eventually attempted to bypass the only legislative authority in ENG, leaving him humiliated by Henry after 1525.

However, Wolsey’s main aim was to appease Henry by financing his war effort, and his methods, although less favoured by the propertied and wealthy, ultimately funded all of Henry’s forces until 1525, allowing Wolsey to maintain his political dominance.

Subsidies were also used for many years after Wolsey’s death, evidence of his success in finance.

Wolsey had a near impossible job balancing the interests of the King, Parliament, the Nobility, the People and himself.
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