There was a time when people regarded the best socks you could buy were those manufactured by Wolsey, of Leicester. Clearly if your granny was a wizard with dpns**, her homemade knitted ones were better, but those who were in the know purchased Wolsey hosiery.
The company [established way back in 1755] got its name not from the owner, but from a local personality – the Tudor Churchman, Cardinal Wolsey, who died in Leicester in 1530 [on his way to London – he had been arrested and summoned to see Henry VIII] He was buried, unceremoniously, in the Abbey – now just a few bits of wall remain. You can see his statue in Abbey Park, Leicester [right outside the Tea Rooms!]
He had originally planned a wonderful black marble sarcophagus for himself- but that stayed in storage – until George 3rd dug it out of the royal storage unit and donated it to St Paul’s Cathedral, to provide a fitting resting place for Horatio Nelson.
But poor old Thomas is in an unmarked grave somewhere in the Abbey Ruins.
You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Yes, that’s right, people are calling for another dig, following the successful discovery of Richard III, to see if we can find another significant historical skeleton in our City Closet! I am not so sure that Wolsey has the same cachet as the horseless hunchback* – but you never know…
Hilary Mantel wrote a superb piece about him [here] and she clearly knows her stuff when it comes to “bringing up the bodies”!
Current joke doing the rounds in Leicester -Why was Richard calling for a horse, a horse? that car park is only just round the corner from Tesco!
[**that’s double pointed needles, for the non-knitting-readers]