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The Last Divine Office: Henry VIII And The Dissolution Of The Monasteries (2009)

by Geoffrey Moorhouse(Favorite Author)
3.55 of 5 Votes: 1
1933346183 (ISBN13: 9781933346182)
review 1: This excellent book is about Henry VIII's suppression on the English monasteries with particular focus on the monastery and cathedral of Durham. Henry's lust for women and lust for more money led him to suppress monastic institutions that had been at the heart of English religious life for a thousand years. Henry had the help of the able and very ruthless administrator Thomas Cromwell. At first it was only the smaller houses which were suppressed, but later, even the larger houses fell to Henry's avarice. Durham, however, was "reformed." As a cathedral monastery, it became home to the deanery of the new Anglican establishment in Durham. Some of the old monks continued to live and serve in the deanery or as priests of the diocese. This book shows the tactics of the so ... morecalled "visitors" who were appointed by Cromwell to examine the monasteries and question both monks and nuns as to the viability of the religious houses and the moral lives of their inhabitants. The questions were invasive and the questioners put the monasteries in the worst possible light, often falsifying or exaggerating in order to justify the suppression. Perhaps most tragic of all is the desecration of the tombs and shrines of great saints such as Saint Cuthbert. I came away from this book with a real disdain for Henry VIII and an even greater disdain for the opportunistic Cromwell. Under the guise of reformation these men plundered and looted the religious houses of England.
review 2: Examines the effect of the Dissolution of the Monasteries on the church establishment at Durham, one of the most powerful and wealthy of England's cathedrals and home of the shrine of St. Cuthbert. It is one thing for Henry VIII to order seizure of property, but something else to actually make the legal framework for unpicking 500 years of charters, deeds, wills, disputed property lines, buried bodies and church furnishings with big honking emeralds in them. I am always torn between feeling badly for the lost medieval world of Katherine of Aragon and the pre-Tridentine Catholic church and admiration for the sheer bureaucratic oomph of Thomas Cromwell, who got shit done. The most important thing Elizabeth I probably learned from her father was to put some of God's Self-Appointed Elect in charge of the paperwork less
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Exhaustively researched, well written. A bit too verbose at times.
Exhaustively researched, well written. A bit too verbose at times.
1539 and the dissolution of a monastery; benedictine
My mother will want this!!
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