The successful search for the bones of Richard III has prompted calls for a fresh effort to locate the remains of another major historical figure buried in Leicester.
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey is known to have been buried at the city’s abbey in 1530, but his remains have not been found.
The churchman, Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, died at the abbey while travelling to London after being accused of treason when he failed to secure the annulment of the king’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.
The remains of the abbey can be seen in Abbey Park.
City councillor Ross Willmott said: “The discovery of Richard III is wonderful news, yet there remains something of a mystery about what happened to Wolsey, who rivaled Henry VIII in wealth and power and was one of the most significant political figures of the era.
“Arguably, he is far more influential than Richard III. To discover his remains would help tell the story of another historic figure linked to the city.”
“There have been digs over the years to try to find him but they have not succeeded. I would like another go.
“It would bring more tourists to the city and further excite the interest in history and archeology that we are now seeing.”
Wolsey’s father had died at Bosworth, though his allegiance in the battle is unclear.
Wolsey served as royal chaplain to Henry VII, who seized the thone from Richard.
It is likely he was buried with great ceremony at the abbey but historians think his tomb was destroyed later in Henry VIII’s reign, when abbeys were dissolved after England’s split with the Catholic Church.
An attempt to locate Wolsey’s remains in 1820 failed and nothing was discovered when archeologists dug in the abbey remains in the early 1930s.
However, Leicester Civic Society chairman Stuart Bailey said: “His bones may have been scattered and any remnants destroyed, but for years they said that about Richard III.
“I think it would be marvellous to have another look.
“It was a great fluke that Richard was found but we know Wolsey was buried in the Lady Chapel of the abbey church, which is not all that big.”
Mr Bailey said he had already suggested a search for Wolsey to Richard Buckley, the archeologist who led the University of Leicester’s Richard III.
Mr Buckley was not available for comment yesterday.