Was Thomas Wolsey’s Rise to Prominence down To Luck or Skill?
There is a lot of debate to whether Wolsey’s rise to prominence was down to his own skill or pure luck. There was no doubting Wolsey’s intelligence but nevertheless many feel the power he possessed in the church was down to fortuitous events that swung in his favour. In spite of all this, there is no doubt Wolsey’s reign was extraordinarily riveting.
As he matured into early teens his raw talent became apparent after he gained his first Oxford degree at the age 15 which was an incredible feat for anyone of his age. It was obvious that Wolsey’s was an intellectual character but for him to rise up in terms of power, he did need a certain amount of good fortune but he still had to take his chances. On March 10, 1498, he was ordained a priest in Marlborough and remained in Oxford, first as the Master of Magdalen College School. In 1502, he left and became a chaplain to Henry Deane, archbishop of Canterbury, who died the next year. He was then taken into the household of Sir Richard Nanfan, who trusted Wolsey to be the executor of his estate. After Nanfan's death in 1507, Wolsey entered the service of Henry VII. During this period Wolsey’s reputation was enhanced as people started to see him as talented man. However, without these series of deaths he may never have got into Henry VII’s court which was a major breakthrough but not the definitive one.