Why Did Henry Viii Dissolved The Monasteries Essay

Why Henry VIII Dissolved The Monasteries

  • Length: 440 words (1.3 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Why Henry VIII Dissolved The Monasteries

There were a number of reasons for closing the monasteries including
political, economic, social and religious but what links them all was
Henry VIII character. He was always a feared and admired ruler who
liked being in charge, and allowed nothing to stand in his way. If
getting his way meant lying or misleading people he would do it.

The political reason was Henry's immediate problem of needing a male
heir and in order to get one he needed to divorce and remarry. The
Pope refused to give permission and this led to Henry splitting with
the Catholic Church. As the monasteries were Catholic and controlled
from Rome, Henry had to get rid of them to show that he was now in
control and not the Pope. They were a sign that the Pope still had
power in England and by closing them Henry showed he was in charge and
a strong monarch.

The economic reason was bankruptcy due to Henry's expensive wars with
France and his expensive lifestyle. Raising taxes would be unpopular
but the monasteries were wealthy. They took up large amounts of land
and were filled with valuables. By closing them down, their land and
contents could be sold. They also had large amounts of money which
they got by charging rent on land they owned:

"Rents of assize with the rents and farms of tenants in divers,
lordships, vitas, hamlets and parishes."

Both the religious and social reasons for closing monasteries down are
closely linked. The Catholic Church and its monasteries were very
powerful in England and affected peoples lives greatly. Henry hated
the idea that they were loyal to Rome and not to him. To show the
Church Of England was now the official church he shut the monasteries
down and so removed symbols of the Catholic church.

The source pictures of the monastery's ruins and the artists
impression of their insides show that they were magnificent buildings
and the monks did have comfortable lives. At the time some people were

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Why Henry VIII Dissolved The Monasteries." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Mar 2018

LengthColor Rating 
The Reign of King Henry VIII Essay - The Reign of King Henry VIII Henry VIII (born 1491, ruled 1509-1547). The second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York was one of England's strongest and least popular monarchs. He was born at Greenwich on June 28, 1491. The first English ruler to be educated under the influence of the Renaissance, he was a gifted scholar, linguist, composer, and musician. As a youth he was gay and handsome, skilled in all manner of athletic games, but in later life he became coarse and fat. When his elder brother, Arthur, died (1502), he became heir apparent....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]707 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Henry VIII: The Narcissistic King Essay - When Henry VIII ascended to the throne in 1509, he became yet another English monarch without absolute power over his realm. Despite not having the same authority as his contemporary European monarchs, Henry was the recipient of two very important prerequisites for a successful reign. The first was a full treasury and the second was a peaceful transfer of power, which had been anything but certain in England since the War of the Roses. At first he was content to enjoy the fruits of his father’s labor, but ultimately he sought glory in his own name....   [tags: King Henry VIII Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2275 words
(6.5 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
Henry VIII: One of the Greatest Monarchs in English History Essay - Henry VIII's legacy is one of the greatest in English history. He is best known for his political success, his many marriages, and his break from the Catholic Church.1 Henry VIII was able to achieve greatness through being an effective leader, changing the religious structure, and his six marriages.2 Because of this, he was able to become the most celebrated monarch in English history.3 Henry VIII achieved such a successful legacy because of his willingness to take risks. He led a campaign in his loyal Catholic country to renounce the pope, accept him as the leader of the Church of England, and fight against the Pope, his major opposition.4 This act of defiance permanently shifted the religi...   [tags: Henry VIII Biography]
:: 23 Works Cited
2614 words
(7.5 pages)
Research Papers[preview]
Essay on Why Henry VIII Closed the Monasteries - Why Henry VIII Closed the Monasteries There were 800 monks and nuns in 1500s they had strict rules, The rule of St. Benedict for monks of the Benedictine order was prayer should take place eight times a day, all monks should sleep in separate beds, all monks must rise quickly when signal is given to attend the services and all monks must not grumble about the colour or rough material of their clothes. The rule of St. Augustine for the monks of the Augustine order was love god and your neighbour and monks should spend their time when not praying, coping books, looking after the poor and old, nursing the sick and crippled, teaching children and looking after travell...   [tags: Papers]515 words
(1.5 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Henry VIII, King of England Essay - Henry VIII (1491-1547) was the King of England from 1510 to 1547.  He was a unique king with talent in music and sports.  He married six wives during his life, and he influenced England a lot during his reign.  This paper will examine his early life, his marriages with his six wives, his success in many battles, becoming the head of the Anglican Church, and his life as the King of England.       Henry VIII was born on June 28, a rainy day in the summer of 1491, at Greenwich Palace in England (Godwin 17).  He was the third child and second son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.  He had an elder brother Arthur, an elder sister Margaret, and a younger sister Mary.  He also had three othe...   [tags: Essays in Henry VIII 2014]
:: 12 Works Cited
2600 words
(7.4 pages)
Research Papers[preview]
The Wives of King Henry VIII Essay example - ... Six years following the birth of his illegitimate son, Henry decided he was done with Catherine, and became more intrigued with the sister of one of his past mistresses, Anne Boleyn. In the beginning of the king's infatuation, Anne was not interested, but as time passed she grew fonder of him (Weir 40). Once Catherine was no longer able to produce the heir that Henry so desperately desired, he took it into his own hands to get the marriage annulled in order to re-marry. By 1527, he convinced himself that his marriage to Catherine acted directly against a passage in the Bible found in Leviticus 20:21....   [tags: henry tudor, england, anne boleyn]
:: 5 Works Cited
2020 words
(5.8 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
King Henry VIII Essay - Henry Tudor, the son of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth York, was born on June 28, 1491. Henry had six siblings but only three survived: Arthur, Margaret, and Mary. Arthur was older than Henry and was expected to be the heir of the throne. Arthur married Catherine of Argon and after less than four months of marriage, Arthur died at the age of 15. This meant that Henry was to heir the throne now. As a child Henry was so spoiled that he would have to be punished for every time he did something wrong....   [tags: henry tudor, arthur, margaret]
:: 1 Works Cited
534 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
The Life and Work of Leonardo da Vinci, King Henry VIII, and Sir Isaac Newton - Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in a small Tuscan town called Vinci that was near Florence. Most people know him for his skills as an artist and his many famous paintings. These paintings included the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and Virgin of the Rocks. An artist was only one of the activities that da Vinci was good at. He was known as the quintessential Renaissance man. Da Vinci was also a mathematician, inventor, sculptor, musician, and writer. Leonardo is stated to be one of the most diversely talented men maybe ever to be alive....   [tags: Leonardo da Vinci, Inventions, King Henry VIII, Si]1450 words
(4.1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay about Katherine of Aragon - Tragic Heroine of Henry VIII - Katherine of Aragon - Tragic Heroine of Henry VIII      Among the bevy of female characters to grace the Shakespearean stage, Katherine of Aragon in Henry VIII is perhaps the most enigmatic. Despite the range of possibilities in other female roles-such as Cordelia and Desdemona, in whom one certainly finds desirable traits-Katherine stands out as a tragic heroine: a secure, strong-willed woman who is articulate, passionate, charismatic, and altruistic. The unique qualities of Katherine are achieved through Shakespeare's careful accretion of rhetorical devices in her speeches....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
1981 words
(5.7 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Essay about Henry VIII - Henry VIII From any point of view the destruction of the English monasteries by Henry VIII must be regarded as one of the great events of the sixteenth century. They were looked upon in England, at the time of Henry's breach with Rome, as one of the great bulwarks of the papal system. The monks had been called "the great standing army of Rome." One of the first practical results of the assumption of the highest spiritual powers by the king was the supervision by royal decree of the ordinary episcopal visitations, and the appointment of a layman -- Thomas Cromwell -- as the king's vicar-general in spirituals, with special authority to visit the monastic houses, and to bring them into line...   [tags: Papers]3494 words
(10 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]

unhappy with them and thought monks were not poor, as they should be
but actually well off.

"Many monasteries grew very rich; some did not live up to their vows
to be poor."

Henry needed to show this to the lay people and so sent officials to
check up on them and make lists of their spending:

"Church ale and a play 7s, a tonne of wine to my brother 5 pounds."

By showing they were spending money wildly compared to what most lay
people earned he had an excuse to shut them down and people would
agree with his decision. Henry wanted to show the priests as corrupt
not celibate, and was helped by lay people who agreed with him:

"Greedy sort of sturdy, idle holy thieves… to have to do with every
mans wife, daughter."

I think the dissolution of monasteries was really down to Henry
wanting a son who could inherit the throne and this is what led to the
Reformation. They represented the Catholic Church and it was this that
prevented him from divorce. The other reasons turned out to benefit
him financially and increased his power and control over England. They
were like an added bonus. In the end Henry got his own way and used
other excuses to justify what he did. This is proved by the fact that
although he broke away from the Catholic church he did not agree with
Protestant ideas and secretly remained a Catholic.

The Reformation in Tudor England was a time of unprecedented change. One of the major outcomes of the Reformation was the destruction of the monasteries which began in 1536.

The Reformation came about when Henry VIII wished to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who had failed to give him a male heir. When the Pope refused to grant the divorce, Henry set up the Church of England. The Act of Supremacy in 1534 confirmed the break from Rome, declaring Henry to be the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

The monasteries were a reminder of the power of the Catholic Church. It was also true that the monasteries were the wealthiest institutions in the country, and Henry’s lifestyle, along with his wars, had led to a lack of money. Monasteries owned over a quarter of all the cultivated land in England. By destroying the monastic system Henry could acquire all its wealth and property whilst removing its Papist influence.

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon

The idea was not new. Thomas Cromwell had already helped Cardinal Wolsey dissolve monasteries in the past. First of all, a dossier was presented to Parliament outlining the corrupt morals of the clergy. Henry’s chief minister Cromwell then introduced the ‘Valor Ecclesiasticus’ to find out just how much property was owned by the Church. He sent out royal commissioners to all the monasteries in England, Wales and Ireland.

This led to the Act of Suppression in 1536 whereby small monasteries with an income of less than £200 a year were closed and their buildings, land and money taken by the Crown. The Second Suppression Act of 1539 allowed the dissolution of the larger monasteries and religious houses.

Monastic land and buildings were confiscated and sold off to families who sympathised with Henry’s break from Rome. By 1540 monasteries were being dismantled at a rate of fifty a month.

After the disposal of their monastic lands and buildings, the majority of monks, friars and nuns were given money or pensions. However, there were some abbots and religious house leaders who refused to comply. They were executed and their monasteries destroyed. Thousands of monastic servants suddenly found themselves without employment.

The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, one of the largest English Benedictine Monasteries, suppressed in 1539.

Many people, particularly in the North of England, were against the Dissolution. Here the old Catholic faith remained especially strong. In October 1536 a large rebel army of over 30,000 people marched to York and demanded that the monasteries should be reopened. This march became known as the Pilgrimage of Grace. The rebels were promised a pardon and a Parliament in York to discuss their demands, and they disbanded. However they had been tricked; Henry gave orders that the leaders of the rebellion should be arrested and around 200 people were executed.

So what were the immediate effects of the Dissolution of the Monasteries? Firstly, vast amounts of monastic land, gold and silver plate were transferred to the Crown. It is said that the King’s own treasury profited by about one and a half million pounds. However a great deal of the wealth Henry acquired through the Dissolution was spent on his wars with France and Scotland. The gentry and rich merchants who bought the land also prospered.

One of the saddest legacies of the Dissolution was the loss and destruction of monastic libraries and their precious illuminated manuscripts.

Malmesbury Abbey, one of the last monasteries to be suppressed in 1539

The nursery rhyme ‘Little Jack Horner’ is believed to be connected with the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The story goes that Thomas Horner was steward to Richard Whiting, the last abbot of Glastonbury. Prior to the abbey’s destruction, the abbot is said to have sent Horner to London with a huge Christmas pie which had the deeds to a dozen manors hidden within it. Apparently during the journey Horner opened the pie and stole the deeds of the manor of Mells in Somerset. The manor properties included lead mines, and it is suggested that the plum in the rhyme is a pun on the Latin plumbum, for lead. Records confirm that a Thomas Horner did indeed become the owner of the manor, however this does not confirm the legend.

“Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said ‘What a good boy am I!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *