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The English Reformation

The English Reformation : Introduction
The king takes over from the pope
People involved in the English Reformation

The Shaping of Modern Europe Index

Introduction to the Reformation
The Church before the Reformation I : Indulgences, Relics and Pilgrimages
The Church before the Reformation II : The Wealth and Political Power of the Church
The Church before the Reformation III : The Clergy
The Church before the Reformation IV : Inside a Church
The Lutheran Revolt
Conflict between Luther and the Church
The Church reacts to Luther
The Catholic and the Lutheran Church
Huldreick Zwingli

17th Century Europe

Europe in the 1600s
17th Century Europe

History Chapters Main Index

 

Things the monasteries did

  • Taught children of the wealthy.

  • Gave free accommodation to travellers.

  • Looked after the sick and the elderly

  • Provided jobs for local people (e.g. as labourers).

  • Taxed the local people (e.g. the Tithe).

  • Rented land to the tenant farmers.

  • Monks spent several hours each day praying and reading the Bible.

  • Copied manuscripts

 

 

 

THE SHAPING OF MODERN EUROPE

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The English Reformation

The monasteries

If you go on holiday to England and travel around, you will see hundreds of ruined monasteries. Before Henry VIII's "suppression" these flourished and were an important part of society. After the Reformation in England very few were left.

 

The Visitations

Commissioners visited every monastery in the country between 1535 and 1538. By asking the right questions and seeing what they wanted to see, the commissioners found many faults with the monasteries. Monks were supposed to have taken vows of chastity (abstaining from sex), poverty (owning nothing) and obedience (doing what the Church told them). However, the commissioners found evidence of orgies, extreme wealth, dishonesty and disobedience. Not all of these reports were accurate, though there was some truth in them.

By 1540 all the monasteries and nunneries in England had been closed. Their lands were confiscated and taken by the king, who either sold them or rented them. The king's annual revenue increased by £100,000.

 

Henry's beliefs

Despite the dissolution of the monasteries and the split from the Pope, Henry was not a Protestant. He made sure that the Church services carried on in Latin and that the Mass and transubstantiation continued. The primary reasons for the Reformation under Henry VIII were power (and the destruction of the Churches political power) and the money that would be gained from the confiscation of Church lands.

 

 

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