Explain why Henry VIII dissolved the monastries

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Financial Reasons

Financial reasons are the fundamental reason why Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.

  • At the time the crown was poor - due to Henry VIII's lavish lifestyle and the repression of funding the Geraldine Rebellion in Ireland and two French wars
  • Following the break from Rome, there was great fear of a papist invasion meant that Henry VIII needed to raise money and raising taxes would be deeply unpopular.
  • Cromwell, chief advisor, encouraged Henry VIII to dissolve the monasteries as it would solve the crown's financial problems whilst retaining popularity and it would mean that the final papal link would be severed.
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The Poor State of the Monasteries

  • The official government reason for dissolving the monasteries.
  • Cromwell, chief advisor, organised a visitation of the monasteries and as recorded in the 1536 Act, it was claimed that the monasteries were 'full of manifest sin, vicious, carnel and abominable livings'.
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The European Reformation

  • Indirectly provided Henry VIII with a justification.
  • (As stated earlier) there was great fear of a papist invasion.
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  • Fundamentally caused because of financial problems.
  • However, Cromwell's and the European Reformation's influence were also causes of the dissolution of the monasteries.
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