Wolf Hall (2015) Episode3

As 1529 draws to a close, Cardinal Wolsey moves to York while Cromwell attempts to gain support for him from King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and in the process, gradually wins favor for himself.

Wolf Hall Episode3 characters

Wolf Hall episode3

Episode3 Plot (1531-1533)

In 1531, King Henry VIII has proposed a bill which will make him the Head of the Church in England and allow him to marry Anne Boleyn. However, his plans are met with a series of complications.

Historical background

  • Archbishop Warham

William Warham

William Warham (c. 1450-1532), last of the pre-Reformation archbishops of Canterbury, closed his career with a resolute stand against the anticlerical policies of Henry VIII.

Warham was made archbishop of Canterbury and lord chancellor in 1504. However, he gradually withdrew into the background, in the reign of Henry VIII, and surrendered the chancellorship to Thomas Wolsey in 1515. He was named as one of the counsellors to assist the queen, but, fearing to incur the king’s displeasure, he gave her very little help. After presiding submissively over the convocation (1531) that declared Henry to be the head of the Church in England, Warham bravely published a dignified but emphatic protest against the enactments of the Reformation Parliament from 1529. He died shortly thereafter.

  • Bilney and Bainham


Thomas Bilney (c. 1495 – 1531) was an English Christian martyr. He was led during the 1520s to acceptance of the doctrine that salvation came through faith in Christ alone. As this doctrine was within the ambit of the Catholic church’s teaching (although it also formed the basis of Lutheranism), he was not accused of heresy. By 1526, however, he was summoned before Cardinal Wolsey and required to swear an oath that he would not disseminate Lutheran views. He swore the oath and was permitted to continue preaching.

The following year, Bilney was re-arrested and accused of heresy. He recanted whatever beliefs were found offensive, and was again released. He resumed preaching, and was finally convicted of heresy and burnt in 1531 in Norwich. —Tudor Times

James Bainham (died 1532) was a lawyer and Protestant reformer. In 1531 he was accused of heresy to Sir Thomas More. He was released after considerable hesitation abjured all his errors, and, having paid a fine and performed penance by standing with a faggot on his shoulder during the sermon at Paul’s Cross. Within a month he repented, and openly withdrew his recantation during service at St. Austin’s church. He was sentenced as a relapsed heretic and burned in 1532.


In 1530, he wrote The Practyse of Prelates, opposing Henry VIII’s planned annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in favour of Anne Boleyn, on the grounds that it was unscriptural and that it was a plot by Cardinal Wolsey to get Henry entangled in the papal courts of Pope Clement VIIThe king’s wrath was aimed at Tyndale. Henry asked Emperor Charles V to have the writer apprehended and returned to England; however, the Emperor responded that formal evidence was required before extradition. Tyndale developed his case in An Answer unto Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue

  • Holy Maid Of Kent, Elizabeth Barton

Holy Maid

Elizabeth Barton (c. 1506-1534), English ecstatic whose outspoken prophecies aroused public opinion over the matrimonial policy of King Henry VIII and led to her execution.

A domestic servant on the estate of William Warham, she fell ill and about 1525 began to experience trances and to utter prophecies. She began to threaten Henry VIII with dire consequences if he did not drop the projected annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and abandon Anne Boleyn. On one occasion she admonished the king in person.

After Henry’s marriage to Anne, the new archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, began an investigation. Arrested and examined, she finally confessed to having feigned her trances and pretended her inspiration. She was condemned by Parliament and executed at Tyburn. —Britannica