Dissolution of the Monasteries

  • Created by: LibertyX
  • Created on: 14-01-19 18:19

Dissolution of the Monasteries - Causes

Why did the Dissolution of the Monasteries take place?

Monastic life was condemned by the Humanists in society as outdated and unnecessary. The abuses of the Church and its poor behaviour was found out and condemned by these Humanists, and the fact it was too close to Papal Authority meant that it went against these new Humanist ideas. The Dissolution of the Monasteries also happened because the Crown needed to fund costly wars with France, and the only way to get that money was to take it from the richest asset in Britain.

How did it come about?

Cromwell declared visitations with a sinister political motive, as it was Protestant agencies that did visitations on Catholic Churches to report back to Cromwell any abuses. Because of this political motive, the Monasteries were quickly dissolved because of 'fake' abuses found. Ultimately, the Comperta Monastica was a book compiled of all the transgressions and abuses admitted by nuns and monks. Many complaints were made of bullying being involved in these visitations, however Cromwell never investigated them. To stop them from reaching Henry, Cromwell quickly reported back all the abuses found, such as sexual misdemeanours and veneration of saints.

1 of 2

The Books

The Valor Ecclesiasticus represented Cromwell's most ambitious project, and has been seen as a Tudor Domesday Book. It essentially listed ecclesiastical wealth and property including taxes paid to the Crown from this property and income that had previously been paid to the Pope. The work was undertaken by the local Gentry. Every Parish and Monastery was visited. The net income of the Church was around £320,000.

Both the Comperta and the Valor served as ammunition for the people who wanted to close the Monasteries. Cromwell manipulated the Valor to demonstrate widespread corruption and the oral bankruptcy of monasticism by revealing that only 3% of the wealth was allocated to different charity works. He also amplified the abuses in the Comperta, going into detail about the sexual misdemeanors, and ensured he had attained the signed confessions of the nuns and monks who had admitted breaking these vows of chastity. He had also included much more scandalous stories, of monks performing homosexual acts and nuns giving birth.

2 of 2


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all British monarchy - Tudors and Stuarts resources »