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The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England$
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Martin Heale

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702535

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702535.001.0001

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The Early Sixteenth Century

The Early Sixteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.271) 7 The Early Sixteenth Century
Source:
The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England
Author(s):

Martin Heale

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198702535.003.0008

This chapter explores the evolving relationship between monastic heads and the Crown in early sixteenth-century England, an era that saw the adoption of more interventionist royal policies towards the Church. This tendency manifested itself in the monastic sphere in particular by increased government interference in abbatial elections, by first Cardinal Wolsey and then Thomas Cromwell. Indeed, by 1534, Cromwell was exercising a powerful influence in almost every abbatial election of consequence. The new superiors promoted under these circumstances found themselves subject to heavy financial charges from the regime and uncomfortable claims on their patronage. Cromwell took a close interest in internal monastic affairs more generally, pressing heads for leases and presentations in their gift, and encouraging monks to inform against their superiors. Monastic communities found themselves significantly weakened by these developments, as the headship of houses became subject to fierce competition, and their internal discipline and solvency were undermined.

Keywords:   Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII, elections, leases, patronage, intervention

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