Thomas Bourchier created Cardinal

Thomas Bourchier was created Cardinal on 18th September 1467 *. Bourchier had been educated at the University of Oxford before embarking on an ecclesiastical and administrative career. His first senior position was that of Bishop of Worcester to which he was appointed in 1434. His career saw him promoted through ecclesiastical and administrative roles, culminating in his appointment as Cardinal, a decision confirmed by the Vatican on 18 September 1467.

Career of Thomas Bourchier

He transferred bishoprics to that of Ely in 1443, whilst also being the Chancellor of the University of Oxford. In 1455 he was translated to Canterbury as a bishop. Bourchier quickly gained a reputation as an able administrator, leading to his appointment as Lord Chancellor in May 1455.

Political roles

He did not last long in this role as he was one of the people who was replaced during Richard Duke of York’s tenure as Protector. However, he remained influential and was one of the people who set about organising the Loveday Parade intended to ease tensions between the rival factions in 1458.

Bourchier supporting Edward IV

In 1459 he took the side of the Yorkists as conflict broke out. It was Bourchier who crowned Edward IV in 1461. During Edward’s reign, Thomas Bourchier became close to the King and royal family. He held trusteeships of royal estates, acted on the King’s behalf in proroguing and dissolving Parliament and in 1462 acted as the King’s locum for a period.

Thomas Bourchier created Cardinal

His loyalty and dependability were rewarded in 1465 by the King petitioning for Bourchier to be created a Cardinal. This was confirmed on 18th September 1467.

*The necessary ceremonies and a Cardinals hat were not in place until 1473.


National Archives page summarising the main record sets relating to Cardinal Bourchier.

Consistory of September 18, 1467. Thomas Bourchier.

Royal Collection Trust, tomb of Cardinal Thomas Bourchier.

Image Credits

Cardinal Thomas Bourchier. Adapted from 1909 stained glass depiction in Sevenoaks Church, Kent, of Thomas Bourchier (c.1404-1486) in Wikipedia.

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