Unit 7 - How and why were the monasteries dissolved?


How and why were the monasteries dissolved? 

  • Henry VIII and Cromwell had a number of reasons to dissolve the monasteries
  • Apart from financial gain, monasteries were the last defenders of popery
  • Many of England's religious houses owed obedience to Rome first and the Crown second
  • Many were expemt from visitations by English bishops and looked for spiritual and temporal guidance to Rome

Allegiance to Rome - 

  • Subsequent Protestant historians view the dissolutions as the natural and logic next step in the English Reformation
  • They think monasticism was outdated and unnecessary in its existence and beliefs
  • Monks and nuns devoting their time to pray for the dead seemed unnecessary to Protestants
  • The people were encouraged to give money to monks and nuns so they would pray for them or their relatives
  • People thought it ould lessen their time in purgatory (before heaven) 
  • The new revitalised Englidh Church needed to get rid of this in its relentless drive towards Protestanism
  • These ideas were problematic because religious houses did not owe obedience to Rome, but to continental mother houses (leading monasteries in Europe)
  • The Crown was founder and patron (sponsor) of many abbies and priories and most monks had shown loyalty to the crown over Rome by taking the Oath of Supremacy
  • Henry hardly supported the doctrines put forward by Protestant writers
  • Henry even re-founded 2 monasteries in order that frequent prayers were said for him and his family which reveals his deep-rooted faith in the monastic ideal
  • The threat of monastic revival in favour of the Pope was unlikely, it is more likely the case that Protestant historians have placed exaggerated emphasis upon religious reasons for the dissolution in order to fit neatly into the path to English Reformation

Abuses and deacy - 

  • There


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