Tuesday, February 07, 2012
REVISITING ENGLAND'S ROYAL MONSTER PART II
ENGLAND’S ROYAL MONSTER PART II
FINANCIAL PROBLEMS – SACRILEGIOUS PLUNDER
KING HENRY VIII now bestrode his realm like a colossus – albeit a somewhat uncomfortable colossus :physically the serious injury caused to his leg in a jousting contest in 1535 was troubling him as it would do for the remaining years of his life. Financially, his Treasury was strapped for cash. Years of foreign wars and the King’s personal gambling brought him to a desperate condition.
The Commissioners were carefully chosen by Crumwell to produce the desired results, and knew what was expected of them. They were mostly Protestant sympathizers and, to meet the complaints at the dissolution of each Monastery from the people it supported they created tales of scandals and disrepute which varied from ridiculous palpable lies to malign distortions of innocent facts.
It can be quickly seen that demolition of this social structure was going to create turmoil and great strife and would take dramatic justification if it was to be accomplished without revolution. Lies about scandal, and the bigger the lie the better, would do nicely.
This was no small undertaking. No less than 374 of these Lesser Monasteries were dissolved and this took about 4 years. The Commissioners would arrive after the earlier assessment; turn out the monks onto the street – if they were not killed- as sometimes happened. They would then pillage the Monastery taking all Sacred Vessels, Votive Offerings, Shrines of value, Reliquaries(after desecrating the relics they contained) .Then they would strip the Monastery roof of its valuable lead roof and it great timber beams, and these were carted away for sale.
Our knowledge of the sordid detail is great, in part because, when Crumwell himself fell, he fell far and fast- so fast he did not have time to destroy his papers, even his meticulous personal notes, which are preserved.
After the four years of severe pillage and plunder, Henry turned his attention to the Hospitals and Hospital Churches of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England and Ireland, which with all their lands and assets were also confiscated to the Crown.
We are told that “practice makes perfect”. These institutions were devoured within two years. But the Monster had acquired an enormous appetite and was still ravenous.
By the time the exercise was completed, the Royal Monster had devoured: