In 1509 Henry VIII appointed him dean of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and in 1515 he was elected bishop of Ely. Prior to his elevation, West was (or was also) Archdeacon of Derby. West's long and successful career as a diplomatist began in 1502 through his friendship with Richard Foxe, bishop of Durham.
In the interests of Henry VII he visited the German king Maximilian I and George, Duke of Saxony; in 1506 he negotiated an important commercial treaty with Flanders, and he attempted to arrange marriages between the king's daughter Mary and the future emperor Charles V, and between the king himself and Charles's sister Margaret.
By Henry VIII, West was sent many times to Scotland and France. Occupied mainly during the years 1513 and 1514 with journeys to and from Scotland, he visited Louis XII of France in the autumn of 1514 and his successor Francis I in 1515.
In 1515 also he arranged a defensive treaty between England and France, and he was principally responsible for treaties concluded between the two countries in 1518 and 1525, and at other times. He was trusted and employed on personal matters by Cardinal Wolsey.
The bishop built two beautiful chapels, one in Putney church and the other in Ely cathedral, where he is buried.
- "West, Nicholas". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: Archdeacons of Derby
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
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