Causes and Effects of the dissolution of the smaller monasteries

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Causes and Effects of the dissolution of the smaller monasteries


  • Dissolution Bill 1536 closed the monasteries due to immorality not greed
  • It had been done before, 29 closed to finance Cardinal's college and closures all over Europe
  • Monasteries had spent less than 3 per cent of their income on charitable works


  • Poor did not suffer as much as people thought they might, monasteries had not been fufiling their roles. New owners had to keep farming land so unemployment was minimised
  • Wealth from monasteries went to the Crown
  • Inmates were scattered - monks could transfer to other monasteries or take pension - employed as parish priests
  • Nuns were not so lucky, and usually applied to join other convents
  • 376 houses closed (only 67 exceptions)
  • Little reaction to these closures - encouraged Henry to go ahead and close the larger monasteries

Overall summary

It was widely believed that there was little reaction to the dissolutions, because the monasteries were already in decline. People were rushing to buy their lands before the legislation was complete. Undoubtedly, the ease with which the smaller houses were closed gave encouragement to the King in his later decision to close them all.


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