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This Sceptred Isle

Henry VIII with his three children
Henry VIII with his three children
The End of the Monasteries and Little Jack Horner
In 1536 Catherine of Aragon died, Anne Boleyn was beheaded, Henry VIII married Jane Seymour, Wales lost its independency, the Privy Council was established and Parliament agreed the Act against the Pope's authority which makes the monarch the head of the English church.

Thomas More and John Fisher lost the King's favour by refusing to swear to the supremacy of the King. Thomas Cromwell who became chief councillor on the demise of Thomas Wolsey swore the King's supremacy and kept his position. He reformed Government policy creating Government departments including the Privy Council He did not fall from power until 1540.

Henry's treasury needed replenishing - he looked to the church, namely the monasteries. The dissolution of the monasteries began.

THOMAS CROMWELL (c. 1485-1540)

  • Sixteenth Earl of Essex
  • The son of a Surrey tradesman
  • Gained an all-round education through continental trade and travel acquiring enough legal expertise to rise high in Wolsey's service
  • Stayed loyal to Wolsey but transferred to the royal service after the cardinal's death and rapidly gained Henry VIII's trust
  • Became royal councillor in 1531 and King's Secretary in 1534
  • Committed to drastic church reform working closely with Cranmer
  • Masterminded the dissolution of the monasteries
  • Fell from power over the blunder of the marriage fiasco with Anne of Cleves in 1540

did you know?
Little Jack Horner was a real person and the plum was the manor of Mells in Somerset. Jack Horner was the steward to the abbot of Glastonbury. By a clever political trick, during the general land grabbing of the Dissolution, Jack Horner got the deeds to the manor of Mells in Somerset . He then gave them to Henry, who was so pleased, that he gave Horner the manor. Amateur genealogists will be amused to trace his family line to the Bonham-Carters, some of whom have became as famous as the good little boy himself.

Forasmuch as manifest sin, vicious, carnal and abominable living, is daily used and committed amongst the little and small abbeys, priories, and other religious houses of monks, canons, and nuns, where the congregation of such religious persons is under the number of 12 persons, whereby the governors of such religious houses and their convent, spoil, destroy, consume, and utterly waste as well their churches, monasteries, priories, principal houses, farms, granges, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, as the ornaments of their churches and their goods and chattels to the high displeasure of Almighty God, slander of good religion, and to the greater infamy of the King's Highness and realm if redress should not be had thereof, and albeit that many continual visitations hath been heretofore had by the space of two hundred years and more, for an honest and charitable reformation of such unthrifty, carnal, and abominable living, yet nevertheless little or none amendment, and by cursed custom so rooted, and infested that a great number of the religious persons in such small houses do choose to rove abroad in apostasy than to conform to the observation of good religion, so that without such small houses be utterly suppressed and the religious persons therein committed to great and honourable monasteries of religion in this realm, where they may be compelled to live religiously for reformation of their lives...

there can else be no reformation in this behalf...

In consideration whereof, the King's most royal majesty, being supreme head in earth under God of the Church of England, daily finding and devising the increase, advancement and exaltation of true doctrine...

Select historical period

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Voices of the Powerless
1529Wolsey falls from power
Sir Thomas More becomes Chancellor
1531Thomas Cromwell becomes a privy councillor
1533Henry VIII secretly marries Anne Boleyn
Cranmer is made Archbishop of Canterbury
Cranmer grants Henry's divorce
Birth of Princess Elizabeth
1534Act of Supremacy
1536Catherine of Aragon dies
Anne Boleyn is executed
Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour
1537Prince Edward is born
Jane Seymour dies
1538James V of Scots marries Mary of Guise
Henry VIII is excommunicated
1540Henry VIII marries and divorces Anne of Cleves
Thomas Cromwell is executed
Henry VIII marries Catherine Howard

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