Explain why Henry VIII dissolved the monastries?

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  • Created by: Kitty
  • Created on: 12-04-13 09:31

Explain why Henry VIII dissolved the monastries?

Henry VIII began to dissolve  monastries across England and Wales in 1536, starting with the smaller and less corrupt monastries. By 1539, all monastries had been closed down, Henry used the justification that they were in a poor state and many were corrupt. Henry's main motive for the dissolution of the monastries was economic due to the gain in Land and Plate.

ECONOMIC - Fundamental reason 

  • Henry was a lavish King - Tudor finances in a poor state.
  • 100 years French war had also drained Tudor finances.
  • Monastries owned a third of the land in the country.
  • Henry was advised by chief ministers to take both land and plate.
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Explain why Henry VIII dissolved the monastries

POLITICAL

  • Henry advised to use land to buy off Parlimentarians - 1534 Act of Supremacy.
  • Money needed if Charles V invaded England - build an army.
  • Dissolution of the monastries - crushing any chance of a Catholic rebellion in the country.
  • Henry didn't need to raise taxes this way, therefore keeping the nobles on his side.

RELIGIOUS

  • Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell (Chief Ministers) - large influence over Henry, both were protestant.
  • Thomas Cromwell saw no place for monastries in his new, protestant England.
  • Henry remained a good Catholic throughout his life - didn't want to close the monastries.
  • 1536, closed smaller monastries - income of less than £200 p.a. - to test reaction.
  • All larger monastries closed by 1539.
  • JUSTIFICATION - majority were corrupt, secularisation, pluarlism, absenteesism.
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Explain why Henry VIII dissolved the monastries

EUROPEAN REFORMATION

  • In Germany, Scandanavia etc. - Monastries and other Religious houses already closed - giving Henry a blueprint.

However, ultimately I believe Henry VIII's main motive for the dissolution of the monastries across England and Wales was economic. Henry needed the money (land and plate) which the monastries possessed in order to use it as Patronage to pass the Act of Supremacy through Parliament, break from Rome, divorce Catherine of Aragon, and therefore marry Anne Boleyn so that the possible male heir she was carrying could be born in wedlock.

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