Monday, May 06, 2019

Searching for Cardinal Wolsey

Now we have turned up Richard III, the obvious next person to look for in Leicester is Cardinal Wolsey.

Accused of treason and summoned back to London from the North, Wolsey fell ill on the journey. He arrived at Leicester Abbey announcing:
"Father Abbot, I am come hither to leave my bones among you."
His grave was lost at the dissolution of the Abbey, but you wouldn't think so if you visited it today (as I did).

The site of the abbey now lies in Leicester's largest park - Abbey Park. After it was excavated in the 1930s, low walls were put up to show where the buildings had been.

There is even a grave slab for Wolsey, but he was buried in the Lady Chapel and the dig failed to locate it.

Should we try to find the old boy now?

I once heard someone make this suggestion to a leading member of the team that found Richard. He replied slightly acidly that, if they did find him, Ipswich would no doubt try to claim the remains.

Anyway, here are some photos of Abbey Park from today's visit. As well as the site of the abbey, it includes a miniature railway, a length of the River Soar and the ruins of Cavendish House.

This last was built on the site of the abbey's gatehouse and sacked after the siege of Leicester in the Civil War.

As I suggested after an earlier visit, the statue of Wolsey looks bemused to find himself in front of the cafe.


Herbert Eppel said...

Fascinating, and thanks for mentioning Cavendish House (again). Can't believe I haven't actually seen it yet yet, after more than 30 years in Leicester! Can feel a visit coming on 👍😎

Jonathan Calder said...

Enjoy! It's definitely worth a visit

Patrick Coleman said...

Hilary Mantel's portrayal of Wolsey in the early chapters of Wolf Hall is one of the most vivid and memorable features in that amazing book and it's successor.