Why did Henry close the monasteries?

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  • Why did Henry close the monasteries and what was the impact of their closure?
    • Why were monasteries helpful?
      • Education - rich
      • Shelter for traveller - pilgrimage
      • Alms for the poo
      • Hospitals for the sick
      • Pray for the souls of the dead and get paid
      • Produce works of art - maunscripts
      • Owned and managed large areas of farm land
      • Heads of most important monasteries advised kings (30 in House of Commons)
    • Cromwell's commission of 1535
      • Reasons = spiritual + moral decay of the monasteries and financial
      • Inspections were not thorough
        • used bullying tactics when questioning
        • evidence was exaggerated or changed
      • only 12/18 gay accusations were true
        • lied to give Cromwell what he wanted
      • Abbot Hexam + Whitby worked in league with French pirates
      • nuns bearing children
      • finding in Compendium Competorum were bleak
        • claimed hundreds of monks took part in gay practices with young boys
          • or they had mistresses
    • New Protestant Ideas
      • not praying for the souls of the dead
      • monasteries were not useful
      • influenced Cromwell
      • Purpose of Bisham Abbey and he nunnery of stixwold war to pray for Henry
        • pray for Jane Seymour + heirs and ancestors
      • refounded two of them in 1537
        • Henry showed his support for the traditional role of monasteries
    • Loyalty
      • 18 monks = executed because they did not swear the Act of Succession
      • Henry doubted the loyalty of the monasteries
      • 1534 Act of Supremacy placed him in charge
      • fierce resistance with some monks after the split with Rome
      • many religious houses had strong links with the Pope and Rome
    • Money
      • no longer needed to rely on taxation from parliament
      • worried that Catholics would invade England - needed protection
      • finance his woars
      • wanted more money and monasteries were financial
      • monasteries earned 1/3 of English land and over £160,000 of income a year
      • land would be given as gentry and nobility


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