Why Did Henry Close Down The Monasteries Essay

Why Did Henry Close Down The Monasteries Essay-85
365 that he would have consented or concealed any treason against the king's majesty ? 23, 1534, and on March 30th of this same year the The Three Benedictine Abbots. For he had greatly loved them; and as he had honoured them when living, so now that they had so gladly suffered death for the Church's unity, he began to reverence and venerate them, and often and much did he utter to that effect, and made his friends partakers of his grief which the late events had caused him. Thereon the abbat, who could not be silent on such a theme, spoke, indeed, in their praise, but with moderation and sparingly, adding, at last, that he marvelled what cause of complaint the king could have found in men so virtuous and learned, and the greatest ornaments of Church and State, as to deem them unworthy of longer life, and to condemn them to a most cruel death. He had not, he said, to his knowledge seen or known abbot Thomas before his election, although he had divers times repaired to the abbey before that time. The story of his sudden arrest and instant execution, as told by the Colchester historian, looks improbable.f Even if true, the abbot's journey to London, his examinations, his imprisonment in the Tower, % and the various measures taken with his servants^ must have quite prepared him for the fate awaiting those who resisted the will of Henry. The sales include certain lands of attainted persons, such as the countess of Salisbury, Sir Stephen Hammerton, etc. Popular sympathy with the insurgents — Severe measures taken by Henry — Causes of the Yorkshire discontent — Aske's declara- tion and examinations — Story of the rising — Religious re- placed in their houses — Henry's instructions to Norfolk — His " politic device " — Insurgent envoys to the king — Assembly at Pomfret — The settlement at Doncaster. This had been enough to have made this traitor a true man if there had been any grace in him." The Three Benedictine Abbots. Excelling many of the abbats of his day in devo- tion, piety, and learning, the sad fate of the cardinal (Fisher) and the execution of Sir Thomas More oppressed him wiih grief and bitterness. There came at length a traitorous guest, a violator of the sacred rights of hospitality, who by his words incited the abbat to talk about the execution of the cardinal and More, hoping to entrap him in his speech. — Robert Rowse.* The evidence of Thomas Nuthake, a "physition," of Colchester, is to the like effect. of such learning as ye learned at Oxenford when ye were young. I will advise you to conform yourself as a true subject, or else you shall hinder your brethren and also yourself."* Nothing more is known of abbot Marshall's last days but the fact of his execution on December 1st, 1539. This amount apparently he subsequently paid as he is credited with ^"11,137 us. in discharge of what was owing for the lands of Fountains, together with those of the two Benedictine nunneries of Swine and Nunkeling.j * See Appendix. Could I blazon thine arms sufficiently although I would say more than I have said ? Perhaps Moor is the same person mentioned by Stowe (ed. 582) : "The 1 of July (1540) a Welchman, a minstrel, was hanged and quartered for singing of songs which were interpreted to be prophecying against the king." To the same period may be attributed the following letter, although the " doctor Coke " mentioned is probably not the abbot of Reading, but Laurence Cook, the Carmelite prior of Doncaster, executed August 4th, 1540. First, that the abbots of Glastonbury, Read- ing, and Colchester were singled out for execution because of their loyalty to the holy see and their influence with their brethren ; secondly, that the venerable Hugh Cook was conspicuous for his de- votion to the vicar of Christ, and spite of Henry's favour, and spite of his threats, would never in his heart accept the king's supremacy, but week by week would offer the holy sacrifice on behalf of the bishop of Rome, and call him pope till his dying day. Abbot Cook, standing in the space before the gateway of his abbey, spoke to the people who, in great numbers, had gathered to wit- ness the strange spectacle of the execution of a lord abbot of the great and powerful monastery of Read- ing. f Of John Eynon the hostile witness writes that he not only denied the charge of treason, " but also stoutly and stubbornly with- stood it even to the utmost, evermore finding great fault with justice, and oftentimes casting his arms abroad, said : 'Alas, is this justice to destroy a man guiltless ? At the outset he had apparently considerable diffi- culty in obtaining possession of the temporalities of his abbey. trusting now by your especial favour to have restitution of my temporalities with all other things pertaining to the same.

Couldst thou not be contented truly to serve thy sovereign lord king Henry VIII., whom thou before a great many oughtest and wast most bound truly to serve ? jam dissolut, alias dicti Thomse Marshall nuper abb.

Wast thou also learned, and couldst thou not consider that the end of treason is eternal damnation ? Ad primam, the said Rowse sworne upon the Evangel, and sayeth that he hath known the abbat of Col- chester the space of six years at midsummer last past or there- about, about which time the said was elected abbat.f * R.

Hast thou not heard how the blind eateth many a fly ? At Colchester, as elsewhere in the country at this period, there were to be found some only too anxious to win favour to themselves by carrying reports of the doings and sayings of new abbot took his seat in the House of Lords. The writers of our annals mention many by name, but there were many more whose names they could not ascertain, whose number is known to God alone, for whose cause they died. He had heard the rumours about the destruction of the two abbeys of St. Osyth's, and, writing to Crumwell, he begs they may con- tinue, " not, as they be, religious ; but that the king's majesty of his goodness to translate them into colleges. John's standeth in his grace's own town at Colchester, wherein dwell many poor people, who have daily relief of the house. The circumstances attending abbot Marshall's arrest are unknown, but by the beginning of November, 1539, he was in the Tower. The date of abbot Whiting's treason is given as " 4* August a 27 " (i 535) ; and abbot Cook's as "1 March anno.

Outbreak of the rising — Causes of popular discontent — The resistance at Louth — People rose in defence of the faith — Feeling against Crumwell and some of the bishops — Statute of uses — Story of the rising — Destruction of the registrar's books in Louth — Murder of the bishop of Lincoln's chancellor — The " articles " of popular discontent — Henry's answer to the demands — Royal anxiety as to the result and the effect of the news in foreign countries — Collapse of the movement — Part taken by the monks. Is this the mark that blind men trust to hit perchance ? Benedict's or Gloucester Hall, the largest of the three establishments which the Benedictines pos- sessed in Oxford, and to which the younger religious of most of the English abbeys were sent to pursue their higher studies.* Very shortly after abbot Marshall's election his troubles commenced. But why should I call him the third, and try to enumerate the English martyrs of that time, who are past counting ? This valuable collection for the lives of Fisher and More comprises contemporary and sub- contemporary documents of undoubted authenticity and importance. 379 reports were spread as to the approaching dissolu- tion of St. Sir Thomas Audley, the chancellor, endeavoured to avert what he thought would be an evil thing for the county. The cause I move this is, first, I consider that St.

LIBRARY OF WELLESLEY COLLEGE PURCHASED FROM LIBRARY FUNDS Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2010 with funding from Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries HENRY VIII. AND 3 THE ENGLISH MONASTERIES AN ATTEMPT TO ILLUSTRATE THE SIS TORY OF THEIR SUPPRESSION. When thou becamest a traitorous messenger between the traitorous abbats, and when thou tookest in hand to lead traitors in the trade of 366 Henry VIII. treason, then was verified the sentence of our Master, Christ, which sayeth, When the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch. The old monk lieth with doctor Coke ; the other three as yet lie together. 367 Abbot Cook, like Whiting of Glastonbury, under- went examination and practical condemnation in the Tower before being sent down to his " country to be tried and executed." What was the head and chief of his offence we may take from the testimony of the hostile witness so freely invoked in this chapter. I think, verily, our mother, holy Church of Rome, hath not so great a jewel of her own darling Reynold Poole as she should have had of these abbats if they could have conveyed all thing, cleanly. Browne-Willis says : " Hugh Faringdon, opposing the surrender of this abbey at the dissolution, an. Now, good Lord for his Passion, who would have thought that these four holy men would have wrought in their lifetime such detestable treason ? For the abbat as heartily loved those holy fathers as ever he loved any men in his life." The abbot's " chief counsellor," John Eynon or Oynyon,* who had been particularly vehement in his protestations of innocence, also spoke, admitting his so-called treason, begging the prayers of the by- standers for his soul, and craving the king's forgive- ness if in aught he had offended. Johannis Rugge nuper de Redyng capellani pro quibusdam altis proditionibus unde eorum quilibet p. And in this sort he held on even from the time of the arraignment till he came to the gallows. It may be worth while here, as some confusion has existed as to the last abbot of Colchester, to give the evidence of the Controlment Roll, 31 Hen. " Recordum attinctionis Thomae Beche nuper de West Donylands, in com.

BY FRANCIS AIDAN GASQUET, 7 MONK OF THE ORDER OF ST. Thou wast blind in thine eyes, and they were blind in their consciences. Two of them wear irons and Frythe wears none, although he lacketh irons, he lacketh not wit nor pleasant tongue. Sir, as you said, it were great pity to lose him if he may be reconciled. " It will make many beware to put their fingers in the fire any more," he says, " either for the honour of Peter and Paul or for the right of the Roman Church. Could not our English abbats be contented with English forked caps but must look after Romish cardinal hats also ? Could not our popish abbats beware of Reynold Poole, of that bottomless whirlpool, I say, which is never satiate of treason ? 1539, and also refusing to attest the king's supremacy, became attainted of high treason," and was executed "at Reading, November 14, 1539, at which time two of his monks, Rugg and Onion, suffered with him." Vide also " Monasticon," " And later on, speaking of the three abbots : " God caused, I say, not only their treason to be disclosed and come abroad in such a wonderful sort as never was heard of, which were too long to recite at this time, but also dead men's treason that long lay hidden under the ground ; that is to say, the treason of the old bishop of Canterbury [Warham], the treason of the old bishop of St. f This over, the * The usual spelling of this name has been Onyon or Oynyon, but it really was Eynon. " Recordum attinctionis, &c, Hugonis abbatis monasterii de Redyng in diet. Berks, alias dicti Hugonis Cooke, nuper de Redyng in eodem com. Marry then, when he saw none other way but one, his heart began somewhat to relent. This leaves no doubt that the letter printed by Wright refers to the abbey, and that the property was seized early in September.

Who can muse or marvel enough to see a blind man for lack of sight to grope after treason ? Moor, Moor, hadst thou so great a delight and desire to play the traitor ? Dur- ing this period he was probably an inmate of St. ; disputed 3rd June, 1511 ; admitted to oppose 19th Oct. Thus he was added as the third to the company of the two former. For the which, as I said to you before, his grace may have of either of them £1 ,000, that is for both ^2,000, and the gift of the deans and pre- bendaries at his own pleasure. Osyth's, surrender of his monastery to the king, answered, " I will not say the king shall never have my house, but it will be against my will and against my heart, for I know by my learning that he cannot take it by right and law, wherefore in my conscience I cannot be content, nor he shall never have it with my heart and will." Whereunto John Seyn, clerk, answered in this wise : " Beware * R.

or who could have thought that he had had any power thereto ? 375 Of the earlier career of Thomas Marshall little is known except that he, like the majority of his order in England, who were selected by their superiors for a university course, was sent to Oxford, where he resided for several years, and passed through the schools with credit to himself and his order. These words did this false friend carry away in his traitorous breast, to make them known in due season to the advisers of the king. The abbat is led to the same tribunal which had condemned both Fisher and More, and there received the like sentence of death; yea, his punishment was the more cruel than theirs, for in his case no part of the sentence was remitted. In reply to the third question, this doctor " sayeth that con- cerning the marriage of queen Anne this examinant remembers he hath heard the said abbat say that the reason why the king's highness did forsake the bishop of Rome was to the intent that his majesty might be divorced from the lady dowager and wed queen Anne, and therefore his grace refused to take the bishop of Rome for the supreme head of the Church, and made himself the supreme head."f Another of the witnesses against the lord abbot of Colchester was a cleric, John Seyn, who deposed that when he had informed him of his neighbour, the abbot of St. The marginal notes, copied from the original document, indicate the chief points on which the examination turned.

But now amongst them all let us talk a word or two of William Moor, the blind harper. For the insurrection that was in the north country was scarcely yet thoroughly quieted; thus began he to stir the coals a novo and to make a fresh roasting fire, and did enough, if God had not stretched forth his helping hand, to set the realm in as great an uproar as ever it was, and yet the king's majesty, of his royal clemency, forgave him. At the time of the northern rising, whilst the commissioners for gaol delivery sat at Colchester, they were invited to dine at the abbey with the abbot of St. When they were at dinner, as Crumwell's informant writes to him, one Marmaduke * Calendar, 1534, Ap. They were, he declared, 30,000 well- horsed, and " I am sure," he said, " my lord abbot will make me good cheer ; " and asked why, said, " Marry, for all the abbeys in England be beholden to us, for we have set up all the abbeys again in our country, and though it were never so late they sang mattins the same night." He added that in the north they were "plain fellows," and southern men, though they " thought as much, durst not utter it."* Another glimpse of the life led by the abbot of Colchester during the few troubled years of his authority is afforded by a writer of a slightly subse- quent period : — "Those who can call to mind the cruel deeds of Henry VIII., the confusion of things sacred and profane, and the slaughterings of which he was the author, will have no diffi- culty in recollecting the case of John Beache, abbat of Col- chester. the habit of extolling the piety, meekness, and innocence of the late martyrs to those guests whom he invited to his table, and who came to him of their own will, some of whom assented to his words, while others listened in silence. gold and silver it were not able to slake their covetousness, and said a vengeance of all such councillors. 383 weeks before the feast of All Saints was two years. The sum of money," he adds, " amounteth to ^"7,000."!

This staunch friend of the papal party, whose blindness rendered his mission unsuspected, travelled about from one abbey to another, encouraging the imprisoned monks, bearing letters from house to house, and, doubtless, finding a safe way of sending off to Rome the letters which they had written to the pope and cardinals. This paper thus treats the incident : — "For think ye that the abbat of Reading deserved any less than to be hanged, what time as he wrote letters of the king's death unto divers gentlemen in Berkshire, considering in what a queasy case the realm stood in at that same season ? Very little indeed is known about Colchester or the doings of the abbot from this time till his arrest in 1539. " u No traitors, for if ye call us traitors we will call you heretics." Nevell then went on to say that the- king had pardoned them, or they had not been at Colchester. And also he said that supremacy, the king's highness had evil counsel that moved him to take on hand to be chief head of the Church of England and to pull down these houses of religion which were founded by his grace's progenitors and many noble men for the service and honour of God, the commonwealth, and relief of poor folk, and that the same was both against God's law and . ) the king and his w ' council were drawn into such an inordinate covetousness that if all the water in the Thames were flowing Covetous. to put such holy men to death, and further the abbat said that in his opinion they died holy martyrs and in the Died martyrs. and so then they went to supper, and since this time which was as this examinant doth remember a fortnight or three The Three Benedictine Abbots. Thus Sir Richard Gresham, father of the more celebrated Sir Thomas, wrote to Crumwell, " to be advertised " that he had " moved the king's majesty to purchase of his grace certain lands belonging to the house of Fountains, to the value of ^"350 by year, after the rate of twenty years' purchase.

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