Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

Death of Wolsey

Although sent away from court in disgrace, Wolsey led so gay a life at York, and made such a display, that he won many admirers. This made Henry more jealous than ever, and as he needed more money, he suddenly sent officers to arrest his former favourite and bring him to the Tower.

This arrest broke Wolsey's heart, and as they journeyed on to London he became so ill that they had to stop at Leicester Abbey and lift him off his mule. Wolsey was by this time so feeble that he said to the abbot who came to greet him: "My father, I am come to lay my bones among you."

He was right; for, instead of getting better, he steadily sank, and died a few days later. His last words were: "Had I only served my God as diligently as I have served my king, he would not have left me alone in my gray hairs." You see, at the very end, Wolsey regretted that he had not always done what was right, regardless of the wishes of an ungrateful king.

All Wolsey's treasures fell, at his death, into the hands of the king, and the beautiful jewels he had collected became the ornaments of Anne Boleyn, who was the real cause of his sudden downfall.

In the meantime the king, who had not given up the idea of divorcing Catherine, overheard two of his officers discussing the matter with a clever young Oxford doctor named Thomas Cranmer. This young man, who belonged to the Oxford reformers, frankly said that if he were in the king's place he would not wait for the pope's decision, but would ask the universities what they thought about it.

The eavesdropping king was so delighted with this suggestion that he hired Cranmer to write a book in favour of the divorce, gave him more and more of his confidence, and finally made him Archbishop of Canterbury. As soon as he became Primate of England, Cranmer declared that the king's marriage was against the law, that he had the right to take another wife, and that Princess Mary had no claim to the crown.

A few days after this, Henry, who had made a great pretence of being very sorry to part with Catherine, had Anne Boleyn crowned as his queen. But when the news of his divorce reached Rome the pope was very angry. He said that Cranmer had no right to decide the question, and that Catherine was still Henry's wife.

The pope's refusal to agree to the divorce made Henry so furious that he now called Parliament together, and made it declare that he was head of the church within his kingdom, as well as head of the kingdom itself. Henry also asked all his subjects to sign a paper to this effect, or take the oath of supremacy, as it was called.

Now, good Roman Catholics consider the pope head of the church, so some of them refused to sign the paper or take the oath. Among these were two great and good men, Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester, and Sir Thomas More, who had been named chancellor after Wolsey.

Thomas More  and daughter


Besides being a good and noble man, Sir Thomas More was a man of genius. He had read the letters of Americus Vespucci as soon as they were printed, and had put his ideas about politics into a little story. In this book, he said that one of the companions of Vespucci had gone to the New World, where he had founded an ideal state called "Utopia"(Nowhere). Here all the people were equal, all were well educated, all were happy and healthy and good, and all had the right to worship God as they pleased.

The people of his time thought this story so absurd that Utopia was used and is still as we now use the word "fairyland." But since then a republic has been founded in the New World, where, as you know, people have the right to practise any religion they please, and we hope that some day it may become a real Utopia.

As Sir Thomas More and Fisher would not say that they accepted Henry as the head of the church, they were accused of treason, locked up in the Tower, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. More was allowed a last parting with his favourite child, Margaret, who, after he had suffered death with great courage, bore away his remains to bury them.