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Dissilution of the Monastries
April 10, 2010
3:46 am
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Claire
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Yes, do post it if you find proof of it, how wonderful!

I actually thought that “The Tudors” series handled the Pilgrimage of Grace very well too, although they had Suffolk in charge instead of Norfolk. They really did show it to be a brutal affair, with whole villages hanged, women and children, and Suffolk being haunted by what he did. It was indeed a bloody saga.

I do wonder how Henry VIII lived with himself, being ultimately responsible for those massacres and also for double crossing Robert Aske. Perhaps Henry just saw it as a challenge to his authority, a rebellion that needed stamping out, a message to the rest of the country, perhaps those people were an example to other parts of the country who might be considering rebellion. I wonder how he justified it to himself. Sorry about the ramble!

Debunking the myths about Anne Boleyn

May 6, 2010
3:01 am
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allison
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I enjoyed CJ Sansom's novel called Dissolution about a lawyer working with Cromwell in the abbeys.

Fascinating stories by Sansom.

VINCERE VEL MORI

May 17, 2010
8:31 am
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Hannah
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The Reformation was largely a legal process, and as such most of the dramatic nuns being cut down in the streets scenes that are in these dramatisations is largely fictional. As Elton said, the Reformation didn't have victims, it had martyrs. And those martyrs were some of the most attractive personalities of the day (Thomas More etc).  For that reason, a lot of propaganda has built up around this huge and largely beneficial event.

Its true that alot of shrines, etc were destroyed. But this was an essential part of the Tudor Revolution. Once England was free of Papal tyranny and decedance, thier trinkets (that were mostly fake, btw) had to go right out after it.

Be daly prove you shalle me fynde,nTo be to you bothe lovyng and kynde,

June 19, 2010
8:46 am
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Jenny
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Hi Alliison,

Have just found thsi forum and I agree with you that Dissolution was agreat and well written novel as were the sequels written by C.J. Sanson.  However (write's name now escapes me) about 6 or 7 years ago I read another novel called “Unicorn's Blood” which was the book to really wake me up about the dissilution of the monsteries and convents and the subsequent social problems arising from them.

It's amazing that one starts off with an idea – in this case Calire and Anne Bolyn and how we all get sidetracked onto other subjects that are in someways related – that is what makes it all so fascinating.

Not so long ago I was doing some research about Herman hesse (last prisoner in the Tower of London until he was transferred to germany at the end of the war) and was amazed at how many links I found and ended up with reading an amazing account about Rasputin, the Russian Royal Family and theories as why George V  refused to help his Russian cousins whereas he sent in warships to Greece to get Prince Andrew (Prince Philip's father) out to avoid his execution by the then government  

June 22, 2010
2:48 pm
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DuchessofBrittany
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What fascinates me most about the revolution was how rich so many people got off stripping God's houses. While not related to Anne Boleyn, anyone interested in learning about how the wealth of the dissilution allowed people to climb the social ladder, should read Bess of Hardwick: the first lady of Chatsworth, 1527-1608 by Mary Lovell. I read it a couple of years ago, and really enjoyed it. Bess of Hardwick is an interesting figure in Elizabeth's I court, but her wealth came from multiple husbands and dissolution period.

Bess is also featured in Philippa Gregory's The Other Queen, and Bess's character does speak to and about the dissolution.

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

June 24, 2010
10:04 am
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Hannah
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How did “God's houses” get that money/wealth/assets in the first place, though? Take paying for masses to be said for the souls of the dead, to get them out of Purgatory, for example. It turns out, Purgatory is not even mentioned in the Bible. And is it really a case of being able to buy your way out of Purgatory? On top of that, you have the poor paying for miracles and worshipping heaven knows how many fake icons (such as one of Thomas Becketts four skulls that were discovered by the commisisoners).  These were the kinds of lies that the Church of Rome amassed a fortune with.

WHat was wrong with taking that ill-gotten wealth back, and plunging it back into the treasury and founding the royal navy, building roads, schools and fortifications?

Yes, people also grew rich off the back of the Reformation. But hey, you know, sauce for the gander and all that! IMO, the Reformation was the greatest thing to happen to England. Well done Henry, Cromwell, Cranmer and Tyndale.

Be daly prove you shalle me fynde,nTo be to you bothe lovyng and kynde,

June 24, 2010
5:56 pm
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Melissa
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Hannah, I have to take issue with some of this stuff.  But please I don't want to start a religious flame war here, so if I say something you disagree with, we can talk about it without fighting.  

You are right-“God's Houses” shouldn't have been amassing such wealth in the first place.  Monks and nuns usually take vows of poverty and as such are not permitted to hold personal wealth.  The loophole to this was of course that it wasn't the monks themselves getting rich, the monastery was.  In the Middle Ages, as the Church gained more temporal power, superstition and proto-capitalism led to a thriving trade in relics, many if not most of which, as you mention, were fakes.  This is what Henry's reformation was trying to stamp out.  In the wake of the Reformation, the Catholic Church finally cleaned house and had their “Counter Reformation,” abolishing much of this stuff.  Of course, relics are still a big part of the Catholic religion-they weren't saying you couldn't venerate those who had gone before in faith or objects associated with the life of Christ, just that the superstitious clinging to them was contrary to true religion.  

One of Luther's biggest complaints was with the supposed sale of indulgences, and unfortunately I've even seen history books that state as fact that the Catholic Church was at this time in the business of selling indulgences.  The Catholic Church has rightly apologized for many wrongs in their history, but they've never apologized for the sale of indulgences because it probably never happened.  Indulgences are still recognized today.  Essentially, you could get an indulgence in those days for performing any number of things that were considered part of Christian charity-prayers, pilgrimages, giving money to the less fortunate, and giving money to the church.  It is that last bit that was misconstrued as the sale of indulgences.  Perhaps there were some rogue priests who tried to actually flat out sell indulgences, but there isn't really any historical evidence for this outside of the complaints of Luther, who had an axe to grind with the Church for other reasons.  Nowadays you cannot get an indulgence by giving money because of this misunderstanding.  

Regarding Purgatory, there is mention of prayers for the dead in a Jewish context in 2 Maccabees 12:40-45, which is of course not in Protestant Bibles.  It may surprise you to know that besides the Deuterocanonicals that Luther removed from the Bible, he really badly wanted to take out the Book of James and other books that are still considered sacred scripture by Protestants.  Another possible reference to Purgatory in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 “If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”  

The Dissolution of the Monasteries was a good thing that went too far, in my opinion.  A few monasteries were certainly corrupt-for instance those places Cromwell allegedly found where nuns were pregnant with the babies of the priests.  That should have been dissolved.  But pure greed motivated the wholesale dissolution.  Even Anne Boleyn said this when she accused Cromwell of giving the money from the monasteries back to the crown instead of spending on charity and education.  The people of England were also very unhappy about the dissolution of the monasteries-witness the Pilgrimage of Grace.  They had the Reformation foisted on them when they were already happy with their religion.  And the murder of the Carthusian monks-please don't try to tell me such a tragedy was justified.  

Too many terrible things have been done in the name of religion, I think we can all agree.  I'm writing as a Catholic but as I mentioned, the Church has done her share of wrong in the past too.  Perhaps had I lived in Tudor times I would have been a Lutheran.  But the Reformation in England was not unbloody.  It was a revolution in every sense and a lot of people died horrible deaths.  And really, the Reformation was something that some very spiritual people were very concerned about, and Henry VIII basically used it as a convenient way to give himself more power.  There's something really unsettling in that.

Stepping off my soapbox now.  

Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne.

June 25, 2010
10:24 pm
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Hannah
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I'm not actually arguing, I'm just disagreeing that the Reformation was a bad thing. But, on with the rest of your post.

With regards to the existence of Purgatory, I'll have to bow to your superior knowledge of the Bible. I am an atheist, and it shows. But I had read in several places that Purgatory is not mentioned. Also, that there is no mention of popes or priests; which the Catholic church insisted were conduits to God.

A few things I do need to mention though. The Pilgrimmage of Grace was sparked by rumour, no action had yet been taken in that area. GR Elton states this quite clearly in his works. However, it was still an armed insurrection against the King. The “pilgrims” took up arms, held local nobles captive (one of them, interestingly, was Katherine Parr's then husband Lord Latimer) and had threatened to kill church commissioners (one or two, I believe were indeed killed). So what could Henry and co. do in that situation? Elton states that 200 ring leaders of the “pilgrimmage” were executed, and given the numbers involved, it was a pretty fearsome retribution, but frankly it could have been an awful lot worse.

One other interesting point about the Reformation, is that Cromwell set about “evangelising” the monastries. This runs contrary to the idea that he was hell bent on destroying them all (this didn't even happen until Edward VI became King).

The Carthusian monks was a different matter again. As you say, it was unjustifiable. However, they refused to recognise Henry as the head of the church in England. That had legally been defined as high treason, the penalty for which was death. Thomas More and Cardinal Fisher also found this out. It was martyrdom.

If it was just Martin Luther complaining about the sale of Indulgences, then maybe I would disregard it. But there was a whole swathe of people who were outraged by the whole notion of it. I doubt very much that they were all mistaken, or just a bit bitter. There is also substantial evidence which runs contrary to what you are saying. I'm sorry, but I have to disagree there.

As for the Catholic Church being open, and admitting its mistake. Sorry, but where I live (in Ireland), we are still feeling the aftershocks of the Ryan Report into child abuse, and frankly I would not trust the Vatican as far as I can throw it. They couldn't even bring themselves to admit they did wrong, less still apologise for it.

Was Anne Boleyn complaining to Cromwell about the money going to the Crown? I find that odd. ALl the money would have to go to the Crown, before it could be re-distributed else where.

As it happens, Cromwell had drafted a revolutionary poor relief bill that was to go before Parliament in 1535. It provided health care, disability alllowances, isurance against sudden unemployment; and provided numerous new jobs through road building schemes and schemes to re-build all coastal fortifications. This was done using the money from the dissolved abbeys.  Also, Henry founded the Royal Navy, and many grammar schools for poor boys were set up with the money. Anne Boleyn needn't have worried!

Be daly prove you shalle me fynde,nTo be to you bothe lovyng and kynde,

July 5, 2010
7:08 am
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Melissa
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Hannah I was wrong!  I got the line about the Church never apologizing from an apologist on Catholic radio, but on the same guy's website I found out that it isn't true- “In the 16th century, when the abuse of indulgences was at its height, Cardinal Cajetan (Tommaso de Vio, 1469-1534) wrote about the problem: “Preachers act in the name of the Church so long as they teach the doctrines of Christ and the Church; but if they teach, guided by their own minds and arbitrariness of will, things of which they are ignorant, they cannot pass as representatives of the Church; it need not be wondered at that they go astray.”  There was also a famous Dominican named Johann Tetzel who did sell indulgences.  

Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne.

January 31, 2013
8:35 pm
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Alison
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Oh Sean Bean as Robert Aske, thanks to him he got me obsessed with Robert Aske and the Pilgrimage of grace. I also found the part with Robert Aske in the Tudors very moving and cried my guts out. Robert wasn’t married though and apparantly he was blind in one eye, brave, brave man. I read an amazing book with Robert Aske as the central character called “The man on a donkey” by HFM prescott the best Tudor novel I’ve read. I was raised very evangelical Protestant and taught that the Catholics were deprave and evil and the Protestants were martyrs and the good guys and I had read the Foxe’s book of martyrs by the time I was 16 ( it’s worth reading and very sad) I was able to look at the Catholic view point of the Reformation and learned how as always in everything there are two sides in every story and the Catholics suffered just as much as the Protestants. I would have been there in the uprisings myself alongside Robert Aske and others.The monastries were so good in many ways for helping the poor and the sick and disabled. They are too often seen as full of drunken debauchery and relics of chicken bones and sheep’s blood etc and I am sure this happened too.

Blame my obsession on The Pilgrimage of grace and my tendancy to side with the Recusants on Sean Bean as Robert Aske.

My own views of relgion are Celtic Christian/Pagan.

February 1, 2013
2:53 am
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Anyanka
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Organised religion, then as now, allowed a few people to abuse the system, either by fleecing thier parishoniers or abusing them. And some of the higher ranks protecting the miscreants, sadly.

Most of the other members were just trying to revere God and do thier best for thier fellow men. Those were the ones who lost out following the shake-up of the monastry/convent systems.

It's always bunnies.

April 4, 2015
9:24 pm
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Alexandria
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Claire said

Yes, do post it if you find proof of it, how wonderful!

I actually thought that “The Tudors” series handled the Pilgrimage of Grace very well too, although they had Suffolk in charge instead of Norfolk. They really did show it to be a brutal affair, with whole villages hanged, women and children, and Suffolk being haunted by what he did. It was indeed a bloody saga.

I do wonder how Henry VIII lived with himself, being ultimately responsible for those massacres and also for double crossing Robert Aske. Perhaps Henry just saw it as a challenge to his authority, a rebellion that needed stamping out, a message to the rest of the country, perhaps those people were an example to other parts of the country who might be considering rebellion. I wonder how he justified it to himself. Sorry about the ramble!

The Duke of Suffolk was actually sent to put down the first phase, in Lincolnshire. However, just as it was dying down in Lincs, the offshoot rising in Yorkshire was taking off, and Norfolk, with the Earl of Shrewsbury (father of the earl who was Bess of Hardwick’s husband) was sent to put this rebellion down. They were massively outnumbered by the Pilgrims (who included KP’s second husband John Nevile, Lord Latimer, and who were no simple peasant rabble and numbered upwards of 40,000) and had to negotiate a truce, much to H8’s displeasure. Of course as we know H8 broke that truce as soon as he could get them to disband. I don’t think conscience worked for rulers of the period as it might for us now – they would justify their actions as being for the greater good, and double cross by the fact that the man was a rebel in the first place, and the first duty of a subject, according to Henry, was obedience to the sovereign god had placed over him.

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