Dissolution of the Monasteries 1535-40: Consequences Political

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Dissolution of the Monasteries 1535-40: Consequences


  • Don’t forget to argue that the pilgrimage of Grace was partly a political response to the dissolution of the smaller monasteries. Analyse the demands of the rebels relating to the monasteries.

  • You could legitimately include the improved financial position of the Crown under the heading of political consequences. Make sure that you have some supporting figures!

  • The dissolution strengthened lay influence in the House of Lords. Prior to the dissolution, 29 abbots had sat in the Lords.

  • Sales of monastic lands gave the Crown huge powers of patronage. The purchase of land bound the Crown and the landowning classes more tightly together and gave both a vested interest in at least this part of the Henrician religious settlement. Restitution of monastic estates would have been costly both for Crown and gentry. Significantly the restoration of Catholicism under Mary did not see the return of monasticism. The dissolution, for political and legal reasons (title to newly acquired property, for example) was virtually irreversible.

  • If it was not a motive for the dissolution, Henry was aware that the greater interdependence of Crown and landed classes was a useful consequence. In setting out a blueprint on dissolution for the benefit of James V, King of Scotland, Henry advised his fellow sovereign to consult ‘with the chief of the noble men’ and to share the land of the abbeys with them to ‘their great profit and honour.’

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