George Cavendish



A.S.G. Edwards, ‘Unrecorded Manuscripts of George Cavendish's Life of Wolsey’, N&Q, 254 (December 2009), 513.


George Cavendish, The Life of Cardinal Wolsey and Metrical Visions, ed. Samuel W. Singer, 2 vols (Chiswick, 1825).


The Life and Death of Cardinal Wolsey by George Cavendish, ed. Richard S. Sylvester, EETS, orig. ser. 243 (London, New York and Toronto, 1959).


George Cavendish, erstwhile gentleman usher to Cardinal Wolsey, is celebrated for his Life of Wolsey, written during the reign of Queen Mary. His autograph manuscript still survives (*CvG 4). So also do at least forty-seven sixteenth- and seventeenth-century manuscript copies (CvG 4-9, CvG 11-16, CvG 18-20, CvG 24-28, CvG 30-44, CvG 46-57), all apparently deriving from a textual tradition slightly different from the autograph manuscript. The majority in non-professional hands, and possibly copied mainly in Catholic circles, they bear witness to the popularity and extensive manuscript dissemination of this biography, which was not published until 1825. The copies are also supplemented by manuscript extracts (CvG 17, CvG 21-23, CvG 29, CvG 45), as well as an annotated printed text (CvG 10).

A less widely circulated work by Cavendish is his series of verse lamentations known as Metrical Visions, which also exists in his autograph manuscript (*CvG 1).

Peter Beal