The Dissolution of the Monasteries

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  • Created by: Isabelle
  • Created on: 06-04-14 16:37
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  • The Dissolution of the Monasteries, 1535-41
    • Reasons
      • Henry claimed they were dissolved due to corruption. Commissioners visited, wrote bad reports: 'comperta', to Cromwell
      • Government said corrupts monasteries have better use as schools/hospitals etc, many reformers inc. Commonwealth men agreed
      • Actually, H wanted their wealth + Cromwell/reformers hated monasticism
      • Two stages: smaller/weaker M's on basis of corruption, then larger M's which 'had volunteered themselves'
      • Cromwell's propaganda=  successful + political ppl had few concerns due to land coming on market
      • H lacked £ so sold most lands+goods instead of increasing royal income in long term
      • H wanted to be seen as exercising his position
      • Cromwell against monasticism-seeing them as dens of superstition + pro-Papal ideas
      • Government worried about opposition, M's thought to be centres of disaffection
    • Enforcement of dissolution
      • Cromwell= architect
        • 1st set of Commissioners drew up Valor Ecclesiasticus, list of wealth+property of M's
        • 2nd set drew up Comperta, supposed evidence of abuses etc of M's, led to first Act of Dissolution 1535
      • This Act dissolved only small M's w/12 or less inmates, claimed only small M's were corrupt
      • By implication, larger M's = good as Act said monks would bet transferred to larger ones to improve their ways
      • Difficult to oppose Act in Parliament as Cromwell had evidence + full dissolution not attempted
      • Cromwell claimed King loved M's and wanted to purify them
      • Second Act 1539 introduced after Cromwell's men bullied heads of larger M's to 'volunteer' to dissolve
    • Successful dissolution as M's in weak position
      • Most= isolated + unarmed, little chance of rebellion
      • Some persuaded they were going to be colleges/hospitals
      • Most unaware, told if they paid fine, they'd be spared
    • Government had key strengths
      • Propaganda stressed not all M's dissolved, only purification
      • Landowners in Parliament etc could acquire new land etc, which usually = static
      • Abbots offered pensions, monks/nuns given compensation
      • 3 abbots (Colchester, Reading + Glastonbury) who refused to surrender were executed - warning
    • Reactions against Dissolution - Lincolnshire Rising + PoG 1536
      • Began in Louth, Lincolnshire under Capatin Cobbler. Rumours H going to strip parish of wealth
      • V.organised spread to N of England
      • Main centre= Yorkshire - PoG
      • Greatest rebellion of Tudor period, largely direct response to reformation
      • Clergy argued it was an attack on both secular + regular Church + stole its wealth
      • PoG - 30,000 rebels
      • Rebels wanted monasteries restored, Mary back as heir, dismissal or Cromwell, Cranmer + other reformers, + Parliament to be held in York
      • Henry didn't have forces so negotiated w/rebels, they agreed to disperse + do this
      • 1537, H went back on his word, executed leaders + ruthlessly persecuted rebels in N
    • Impact of Dissolution
      • 500 religious houses (centuries old) dissolved
      • Huge turnover of land sales; Cromwell set up Court of Augmentations run by Richard Rich, handled goods etc taken by H
      • H sold land quickly but not to long term benefit
      • H + Cromwell showed power, M's not unpopular/ corrupt but in 4yrs dissolved
      • Monks/Nuns thrown out, some abandon religious calling, others find work
      • Rebels claimed dissolution = blow to charity
      • M's plundered for fabric/goods
      • Rise of new class, ambitious landowners, lead to serious soc + eco probs + rebellions
      • Blow to education as many M's ran schools
      • Government's claims M's wealth used for schools etc. not fulfilled, used for defense/war
      • Commonwealth + Humanists disappointed it didn't lead to redistribution of wealth
      • Agricultural labourers + small farmers felt cheated - major cause of rebellions 1549



All of these are so detailed! 

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