Wolsey Crescent, SM4

PLACE NAME

Like the adjoining Cardinal Avenue, this is named after Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (March 1473 – November 29, 1530), the Archbishop of York, statesman and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic church. Under Henry VIII, as the King’s almoner, he became the controlling figure in virtually all matters of state carrying out his duties with vigorous efficiency, though not without his own personal extravagance. He rearranged England’s tax affairs so that the wealthy would pay most, he made allegiances and friendships and negotiated treaties among much else. He pursued an active foreign policy, endeavouring to utilise to England’s advantage the rivalry between Francis I of France and the emperor Charles V. It was Wolsey that organised the royal summit that brought Henry with his French counterpart at the Field of Cloth of Gold, so named after the extravagance of the meeting which included huge retinues, in 1520. But despite its splendour the event produced little in terms of real achievement. His moves to become Pope only resulted in a lose of English influence in the later 1520s. It was the failure of his greatest diplomatic test that brought his ultimate downfall, after failing to negotiate Henry’s annulment to Catherine of Aragon (Charles V’s aunt), he fell out of favour and was stripped of his titles. He died in disgrace after a short illness on his way from York to London to face the charges of treason. This is one of a group of streets on the Morden Park Tudor Estate built by G T Crouch in the 1930s, described in the builders brochure as: “… a splendid ambition come true – an ambition of the builders whose spacious model Estate of picturesque Tudor houses is in a model situation, and an ambition of the house-holder who finds here the perfect house in natural surroundings and yet within the easiest reach of town”. Perhaps the builders took their inspiration from the style of the housing.

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