Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio

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Lorenzo Campeggio as played by John Kavanagh

Born c. 1464 - died July 25, 1539
Character's backstory: Born in Milan of a noble Bolognese family, the son of Giovanni Campeggio, a famous civil lawyer [The Catholic encyclopedia says he was born in 1472 in Bologna] In his early years, he followed a legal career and in 1499 he took his doctorate. In 1500 he married Francesca
de' Gualtavillani
, by whom he had five children, one of whom, Allessandro, born in 1504, became cardinal in 1551, and another, Gianbaptista, became bishop of Minorca. After his wife died in 1510, he went into the church. He was made Auditor of the Rota in 1511 by <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Pope Julius II</a> and sent to <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Emperor Maximilian</a> and to Vienna as nuncio.

When <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Pope Leo X</a> needed a subsidy from the English clergy, he sent Campeggio to England on the ostensible business of arranging a crusade against the Turks. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, then engaged in beginning his reform of the English church, procured that he himself should be joined to the legation as senior legate; thus the Italian, who arrived in England on the 23rd of July 1518, held a subordinate position and his special legatine faculties were suspended. Campeggio's mission failed in its immediate object; but he returned to Rome. In 1524 King Henry VIII gave him the rich see of Salisbury, and the pope the archbishopric of Bologna. He was then held captive with Pope Clement VII during the sack of Rome in 1527 and did much to restore peace.

On the 1st of October 1528 he arrived in England as co-legate with Wolsey in the matter of Henry's divorce. He brought with him a secret document, the Decretal, which defined the law and left the legates to decide the question of fact; but this important letter was to be shown only to Henry and Wolsey. "Owing to recent events," that is, the loss of the temporal power, Clement was in no way inclined to offend the victorious <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Charles V</a>, Katherine's nephew, and Campeggio had already received (16th of September 1528) distinct instructions "not to proceed to sentence under any pretext without express commission, but protract the matter as long as possible." After using all means of persuasion to restore peace between the king and queen, Campeggio had to resist the pressure brought upon him to give sentence. The legatine court opened at Blackfriars on the 18th of June 1529, but the final result was certain. Campeggio could not by the terms of his commission give sentence; so his only escape was to prorogue the court on the 23rd of July on the plea of the Roman Vatican. Having failed to satisfy the king, he left England on the 26th of October 1529, after his baggage had been searched at Dover to find the Decretal, which, however, had been burnt.

Returning to Bologna, the cardinal assisted at the coronation of Charles V on the 24th of February 1530, and went with him to the diet of Augsburg. He was deprived by Henry of the English protectorate; and when sentence was finally given against the divorce, Campeggio was deprived of the see of Salisbury as a non-resident alien, by act of parliament (11th of March 1535); but his rich benefices in the Spanish dominions made ample amends. In 1537 he became cardinal bishop of Sabina, and died in Rome on the 25th of July 1539. His tomb is in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Rome).
[sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed. Vol V., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. 134]


Position(s): Bishopric of Feltre in 1512 (held until 1520), made Cardinal (on July 1, 1517 by Pope Leo X), Maximilian I appointed Campeggio Cardinal Protector of the Holy Roman Empire, appointed Cardinal-Protector of England (January 22, 1523), cemented position in Romas Curia (1522), Bishopric of Salisbury (December 2, 1524, lost revenues in August 1533, deprived of Bishopric by Act of Parliament on March 21, 1534), Bishop of Bologna, appointed by Pope Clement VII (December 2, 1523, held till 1525), legate to Diet of Nuremburg (January 9, 1524), Papal Legate during the Sack of Rome when Clement VII fled, Papel Legate for Henry VIII to his marriage to Katherine of Aragon (June 8, 1528, Henry VIII dismissed Campeggio May 20, 1531), Charles V gave Campeggio Spanish Bishopric of Huesca and Jaca (September 2, 1530 until June 17, 1534), Bishop of Candia; Crete (until 1536), legate to the Diet of Augsburg (1530), named legate to the General Council (First Mantua and then Vicenza, only attended first session on May 1538)

Personality type:

Signature look:

Endearing trait(s):
In 1522 many plans for reform of the abuses in the Catholic Church were submitted to him. One of the best and most thorough-going of these was that of Campeggio. He boldly declared that the chief source of all the evils was the <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Roman Curia</a>, of which, as has been stated, he was himself a most influential member. He recommended that the powers of the Dataria, whose officials he styled "blood-suckers",benefices should not be combined, or reserved, or held in commendam; and that none but able and virtuous men should be appointed to them. He spoke strongly against the reckless granting of indulgences.

Annoying trait(s):

"An eminent canonist, ecclesiastical
diplomat and reformer"

[quote from <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="The Catholic Encyclopedia">The Catholic Encyclopedia</a>]

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Family members:
Wife- Francesca Guastavillani; married her in 1500-1509
Five Children (2 sons became Bishops):
Gianbattista (son)

Francesca Guastavillani (wife)

Pope Julius II
Pope Clement VII
Emperor Charles V

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
King Henry VIII


  • <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title=" Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio legate to the courts of Henry VIII and Charles V by Edward Victor Cardinal (1935)"> Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio legate to the courts of Henry VIII and Charles V by Edward Victor Cardinal (1935)</a>


  • "God has given me gout. Its a great trial....if your grace had some water, perhaps laced with a bit of wine?"

  • When Campeggio was given Wolsey's room, and Wolsey walked past it to go to another more smaller room, Campeggio is seen at the doorway of his room, watching Wolsey, and then he slowly closes the door... Classic.


Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio

Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
Lorenzo Campeggio
Seal of Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio
Cardinal Campeggio

Cardinal Campeggio as played by John Kavanagh