The moral judgment of Henry VIII’s public crimes of sacrilege, murder, bigamy, theft etc. is a matter for God alone. The same is true of those incidentally complicit in his deeds – the purchasers or recipients of stolen Church property: whole estates, selected buildings, lead from roof structures and their massive timbers, jewelry from sacred shrines and vessels etc.And it is not as if this was property simply bought by the Church in the past – no – most of all of this was the sacred gift or bequest of the faithful, clerical and lay and of Royal benefactors, given for devout intentions, dedicated to Almighty God. In the case of the chantries the gift entailed the solemn obligation to pray and offer Holy Mass for the repose of the souls of specific persons. It was a monstrous outrage before God and man.

When we study the record, what do we find? Did the villains prosper?

“God is not mocked “

The modern day visitor to London slowly begins to realise a great difference between London and other cities of its age. There are almost no very old churches there. The answer is simple, but devastating. The Great Fire of London in 1666.

We will find that a great deal of the retribution borne by the co-operants and beneficiaries in and of the plunder of the Catholic Church in England had already been exacted, but now came the crowning cataclysmic event that destroyed the heart of the infamous kingdom.

It came 119 years after the death of England’s Royal Monster, but , going beyond “ grinding exceeding small” in its four day inferno , it reduced to ashes 70,000 of the city’s 80,000 residences. Along with the greater part of the Capital, the ancient Catholic St.Paul’s Cathedral (far larger than Wren’s mini St Peters, the new St. Paul’s) was destroyed together with no less than 87 churches which had also been stolen from the Catholic Church.

Only six deaths were recorded in the calamity. It is now believed that there were two reasons for this – firstly the destruction of many bodies by the intensity of the fire and secondly a certain official disregard for the fate of the common folk.
London at the time had been as great as the next 50 cities in England combined –the extent of the disaster nationally can readily be assessed. This was spectacularly visible retribution.

However, 34 years earlier, Sir Henry Spelman had become convinced from what he had already witnessed, that the recipients of the spoils were cursed over generations His interest was not an idle one. His family was one which had shared in the proceeds of the Royal plunder.

630 Families, according to Spelman shared in the King’s plunder of the Catholic Church. When a revised edition of Spelman’s book was published in 1895, 616 were extinct. Of the 43 noble families sharing in the King’s plunder 15 were extinct within 50 years and only 9 now survive and are wracked with woes. The Anglican Dean Boys of Canterbury – a strong supporter of Elizabeth wrote:”Read the Chronicles examine the Histories and show me one Church Robber’s heir that thrived into the third generation.”

The seventeen Lay Lords in the Parliament which approved the Dissolution of the Monasteries provide potted histories of the type of retribution visited more widely on the 630:

No. 1 Thomas Lord Audley of Walden
Died without male heir 1544.

His only daughter’s husband died in battle childless.

Her second husband was beheaded in 1572.

Her son and daughter by that husband were executed for murder.

No.2Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk

Committed to the Tower.

His son Henry was beheaded by order of Henry VIII as the King lay on his own deathbed.

Grandson beheaded by Elizabeth I

His son Thomas’ family extinct in the next generation..

No.3 Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

Married 4 times:

Wife 1 – no children.

Wife 2-a daughter who married Lord Monteagle – line extinct.

Wife 3 –a son, died as a child, and 2 daughters:

1 married Henry Duke of Suffolk- he was beheaded .They had had 3 daughters of whom

1 was beheaded 1 divorced and then married Edward Earl of Hartford who was beheaded

1 had no children.

The second of the Duke’s daughters had two sons who died as children.

Wife 4 – Two sons who died as children on the same day. The Name, Title and family ceased to exist.

No4 Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset.

Beheaded. His son died before him, childless. Daughter Lady Jane Grey and her husband were beheaded.

N0 5 John Vere, Earl of Oxon

His grandson utterly wasted the estate and inheritance of the Earldom and his Great grandson died without heir.

No. 6 William Fitz William, Earl of Southampton

Died without heir.

N0.7 William Fitz Alan Earl of Arundel

Four daughters – all childless. His son had an heir who died childless in his father’s lifetime. Title extinct in the male line.

No.8 Francis Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury

All children died without issue – family extinct.

No.9 Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex

Killed in fall from a horse – broken neck.

No’s 10 to 14 Edward Lord Stanley Earl of Derby, Thomas Manners, Earl of Rutland, Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, Robert Ratcliff Earl of Sussex, George Lord Hastings , Earl of Huntington - all became extinct.

No.15 Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford

Beheaded. His two sons died without issue.

No. 16 Henry Lord Daubeney, Earl of Bridgewater

Died without issue. Name, Family and Title extinct.

No.17 Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester

Son died in the Tower.

Another son killed at Musselborough field and his son in law was beheaded.

There were in addition, 25 Barons in the same Parliament. The Families and titles of all but 3 are now extinct.

The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Leonard Lord Grey who summoned the Parliament to approve the Dissolution there, was himself beheaded by Henry VIII five years later.

The pattern is at least discernible! In Truth it roars in our faces as if from the jaws of Hell itself.

We know of Henry VIII’s miserable death. His several children what of them? He had two legitimate sons and three daughters and an illegitimate son. One son and one daughter died in infancy. The remaining legitimate son and two daughters succeeded to the throne. Edward VI died as a youth without issue. Queen Mary restored the Catholic Religion but she died without an heir. Elizabeth I had a long and murderous reign reaching the depths of its infamy in the murder of the legitimate heir to the throne Mary Queen of Scots.

Henry’s illegitimate son the Duke of Richmond died without children.

Elizabeth herself died without issue and the Tudor line was extinct – the end of all Henry’s monstrous crimes was totally vanquished. What a catalogue of evil begetting evil and ending in destruction.

This posting owes much to Sir Henry Spelman's research and early articles in Annals Australasia edited by the great Father Paul Stenhouse M.S.C.and originally appeared in FOUNDATION August, 2010 Issue.



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