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The Dissolution Of The Monasteries Notes

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Ellie Lacey AS HISTORY - UNIT 2 REVISION NOTES THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MONASTERIES: SUPPORT FOR, AND OPPOSITION TO, RELIGIOUS CHANGE FROM 1529 What was the condition of the monasteries in 1530?
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At least 825 religious houses in England and Wales 1530. Some were closed (not allowed out) and so made no valuable contribution. 502 for monks, 136 nunneries, 187 friaries. Monks included Benedictines, Carthusians and Cistercians. All monks and nuns took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Upheld with varying degrees of success. Most lay folk knew of their local monastic institution and felt some material or spiritual connection to it. (Pilgrimage of Grace). Some monasteries carried out good work, e.g. caring for the sick in hospitals. Little popular antipathy to the monasteries (unlike in Germany). Reaction to the dissolution in the North, 1536 - loyal. The monasteries were vastly wealthy. The Valor Ecclesiasticus, 1535 showed that total income was
>£160,000 p.a. Over 1/3 land was owned by monasteries. Income 3 x that of royal estates. Income came from rent, tithes (tax: 10% land and livestock) and profits of pilgrimage. Monasteries were an established feature of the English countryside, with over 10,000 in 3.5 mill. people. NOTICEABLE MINORITY. Accusations of corruption: Absenteeism, pluralism Nepotism Sexual misconduct

How were the monasteries dissolved?
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Many monks swore their allegiance to the Crown in the Oath of Supremacy. Cromwell's Valor Ecclesiasticus provided the ammunition. Often unbalanced.
£1/4  Head of House. Commissioners reported tales of depravity and immorality. Convinced many notables. E.g. in Haltemprice, Yorkshire, 1535: "they have the arm of St George". Intellectual opinion against monastic way of life: Erasmus. Some argue that Cromwell always had a masterplan, based on financial gain and personal belief (for evangelical reasons). Others state that the dissolution was only decided upon after the Valor Ecclesiasticus (original purpose = to assess how much houses should pay to Henry VIII [10% - Ref. Parl.]), and was opportunistic and reactive.

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