Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Question from PlusHeureuse - Primary sources on the Dissolution

I am doing an essay about the ease with which H VIII dissolved the monasteries but am struggling to find many actual sources to help me to support this, mostly information seems to be in the form of the opinions of historians from which is is difficult to discern any actual evidence. The arguments all seem to be pretty simple and obvious but i would really apprecaite some advice on where to look for evidence that might help me make this essay well supported and accurate. Thanks.


  1. I shall assume from the content of your question that you are a university student and therefore respond by further assuming that you have access to a university library. Firstly, I would not say that the Dissolution was "easy." The Pilgrimage of Grace of 1539 was itself evidence of massive discontent among the general population over the policy. Secondly, the primary sources are actually quite extensive. See, for example, Aidan Lawes' "The dissolution of the monasteries and chantries sources in the National Archives" in Genealogists' Magazine, 27:11 (2003), 483-91. Check with your university library's Interlibrary Loan Department ... they can probably get you a copy of this article. Check also George Bernard's "The king's reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church (Yale University Press, 2005). Look in his bibliography to see what primary sources he used. Bernard has several books out on the English Reformation, and most of them discuss the Dissolution. The literature on the Dissolution is extensive overall, so you should not have much trouble finding books in your local university library (search keywords: Dissolution AND monasteries) that you can pull and look in the bibliography of primary sources. Lastly, if your universtiy subscribes to the online database "Bibliography of British and Irish History" or has a copy of its print equivalent in the Reference section, check it under the same keywords and follow the same process: get the books and articles listed, check the Primary Sources section of the bibliography in each, and go from there. Many of those sources have been printed in modern editions by the Camden Society. If this does not work, ask Lara for my direct email and I might be able to offer more. Good luck.

  2. to PhD Historian, I thought the Pilgrimage of Grace began in 1536 and concluded in 1537, not 1539. Am I wrong?

  3. Yes, the person who first worte is incorrect, PoG, 1536-37. Aske an dthe main protagnists were dead by 1539.

  4. PhD historian is in fact incorrect, the PoG lasted from 1536-7 by 1539, the main protagnists such as Aske were in fact dead!


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