Like the adjoining Cardinal Drive, this is named after Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (March 1473 – November 29, 1530), the English archbishop, statesman and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic church. Under Henry VIII, as the King’s almoner, Wolsey became the controlling figure in virtually all matters of state. Though after failing to negotiate Henry’s annulment to Catherine of Aragon, he fell out of favour and was stripped of his titles. This is one of a cluster of local streets, the so-called Tudor Estate, that were laid out in the 1950s on the site of Fencepiece Farm, a former fenced clearing in Hainault Forest. One of the remaining parts of the ancient Forest of Essex, this royal woodland had been used by English kings and queens as a hunting ground for centuries. Near its centre stood an Elizabethan house known as Chappell Hainault. Following an Act of Parliament in 1850 the forest was disafforested meaning it was no longer a royal forest or the property of the Crown. It was broken up and sold as farmland which was later developed for housing.
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