English cardinal and Archbishop of Canterbury. He held a Yorkist claim to the throne of England through his mother, the Countess of Salisbury. This high birth, combined with his devotion to Roman Catholicism, made him very important in the eyes of foreign rulers during the English Protestant Reformation. After 1532 he lived abroad, disenchanted with Henry VIII's marital and religious policies. He was made a cardinal (1536), and urged France and Spain to invade England in the name of Catholicism. Henry revenged himself on Pole's relatives, executing his brother and his aged mother. In 1554 he returned to England. His task was to assist the new queen, Mary I, in her Counter-Reformation programme. As Archbishop of Canterbury he began to lay the foundations of a revived Catholicism, although he seems to have disapproved of Mary's persecution of Protestants, and his work did not survive after his death.
Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700).