• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries purely out of greed" Do you agree?

Extracts from this document...


"Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries purely out of greed" Do you agree? Within 4 years Cromwell successfully destroyed the monasteries in England. I will argue that Henry's professed motives for such a course of action can easily be shown to have been without foundation. However, to say, as the question does, that Henry was motivated solely by personal greed would be rash; his motives should be seen largely as enforcement of the reformation as well as the crown's requirement for finance. Henry said, on the basis of a survey commissioned by Cromwell, that corruption was widespread in the monasteries. This was the basis on which he went on to dissolve the monasteries. Henry was correct, the number of clergy had declined to about 10,000 and in many monasteries, contrary to living a life devoted to God, members of the clergy rented land, collected tithes as well as entertained superstitions such as indulgences in order to fund lavish lifestyles. ...read more.


The treason act had recently been enacted and the dissolution of the monasteries should be seen in this context. The dissolution of the monasteries should be seen as part of the process of enforcement in its essential role in removing all physical symbols of Catholicism. Henry wished to ensure the security of the reformed Church, through the dissolution of the monasteries not only did Henry limit the threat from opposition but also, for the long-term, it would be significantly harder to revive the Catholic Church. The revival of Catholicism was a prospect, about which Henry worried due to the different religious views of his likely successor. In addition, the acquisition of monastic lands offered important opportunities not only for finance but also as a means for consolidating support within the nobility for the reformed church. Henry also had to enforce the new ideology, one could argue that it was an opportunity for Henry to implement the Protestant theology, which saw no place for monasteries, rather placed emphasis on the individual's relationship with God. ...read more.


While it is inevitable that greed was part of Henry's motives when faced with this possible inflation of the crown accounts, it is clear that at this time Henry had more important uses for money in terms of foreign policy and the reformation. Therefore, it would be rash to place undue prominence on greed when it is clearly outweighed by other motives. I conclude, therefore, that the dissolution was not driven, as some have suggested, by Henry's personal greed. Seen in the context of a time when Henry needed to consolidate and enforce reformed church the objectives of destroying catholic symbolism, limiting threats from opposition to the new church as well as beginning ideological reform can be seen as fulfilling this aim. Furthermore, the monetary requirements should also be seen as an important motive, which, in terms of buying support, can also be seen as relevant to the consolidation of the reformation. It is flawed to suggest that the motive behind the dissolution was purely personal greed, money and more importantly the need for enforcing the reformation were the main motives. Michael McLoughlin Page 2 of 2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Was the Henrician Reformation inevitable?

    Within two weeks the Convocation voted �100,000 and in return asked to be pardoned for threats of praemunire. Within this agreement Henry demanded recognition as ' sole protector and also supreme head of the Church of England'. This would mean Henry taking the place of the Pope, but he was

  2. "The primary motive for the dissolution of the monasteries was financial." Do you agree?

    Indeed, the divorce case was more significant in that it was a trigger event, causing Henry to act more quickly than he would normally have done - although the money was running low, it was not at a critical point.

  1. Why did Henry VIII close the Monasteries?

    roof and even the stonework were taken to sell and king made money from them to defend the country, Henry V111 was not himself a protestant but wanted to control the church in England so the people obeyed him not the pope and Henry V111 income was �100,000 a year

  2. Using all the sources and your own knowledge, assess to what extent the dissolution ...

    With the break complete, further reforms took place, pushed by Cromwell, Cranmer, and Boleyn faction of the council. Cromwell's injunction in 1536 led to the clergy being educated to preach Henry's status as Head of the Church and another injunction in 1538 reduced the number of Holy Days as well as lessening the significance of candles and relics.

  1. Why did Henry dissolve the monasteries?

    With hindsight this is easy to highlight, as the closure of the monasteries can appear as part of a campaign on the behalf of Protestant supporters to replicate what had already happened in both Germany and Switzerland.

  2. " The monasteries were dissolved purely as a result of Henry V111's greed." Do ...

    We may therefore think that perhaps Henry wanted to re-direct the resources used in the monasteries towards building schools, hospitals etc. However, little was done to fulfil this aspect of the reformer's ambition and it is therefore generally accepted that, for Henry at least, money was the main motive.

  1. Death is Part of the Process

    "We're in an estate of some kind. A housing estate. It looks pretty grim. I don't think anyone lives here. I think it's being knocked down." One of the officers leaned over Danny's shoulder. "Are you sure this is right?" Danny tapped keys and watched green and red lights flickering on the digital map.

  2. Campaign Finance Investigation.


  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work