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Tudor fact file

Dissolution of the Monasteries

1536
 
 

Notes

  • When Henry VIII became head of the English Church the priests were unpopular with nobles and ordinary people.
  • Rather than living a 'monastic' very simple life, they had become rich and in some cases lazy.
  • Henry VIII saw the monasteries with their lands and wealth as a means of financing his wars.
  • In 1535 Thomas Cromwell did a survey of 800 Monasteries and nunneries.
  • In 1536 Parliament passed an act 'dissolving' the smaller monasteries
  • In 1539 another act was passed to dissolve the larger ones.
  • Cromwell's men visited each abbey, priory and other religious houses. They told the priests and nuns to leave and they took all their money and treasures.
  • The buildings were destroyed.
  • Many fine church buildings were destroyed like Tintern Abbey (pictured above), Fountain's Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey.

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