Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/64

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Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries

pope appeared favourable, but Cardinal Sanctorum Quatuor was "untreatable." He apparently influenced Clement VII. against the scheme. In August 1524, Clerk wrote that the Holy Father made hardly any objection to his demands for Wolsey, "except the extinction of the monasteries and the collectorship."[1] They had been told in Rome (as the bull subsequently obtained asserts) that the need for increased facilities of study in England was at this time most pressing, and that the Oxford university "seemed likely to come to an end by reason of its slender revenues."[2] Further, that the position of St. Frideswide's in the city of Oxford was admirably adapted for the purpose of a college, and that, owing to the objection of the English people to allowing land to be held for such purposes, it was impossible to buy or procure it. Lastly, they were told that there were many religious houses in England where the numbers had diminished to five or six, and where, on this account, the divine service could not be fittingly carried out.

Urged by these motives, the pope at first granted the cardinal of York the amplified faculties for visitation so long and diligently sought. Subsequently he consented to another bull for increasing the revenues of the Oxford college by further suppressions. He warned Wolsey's agent, however, "for God's sake to use mercy with those friars," as to the matter of visitation, adding, according to Clerk (what sounds much more like the agent's sentiment than the pope's) "that they were desperate beasts, past shame, that can lose nothing by clamour."[3] The bull allowing Wolsey to suppress monasteries to the value of 3000 ducats a year for the purpose of adding to the funds of his college, left Rome on September 12, 1524.[4] It provided that the king and the various founders should give their sanction, and that the religious persons should go to other monasteries.[5]

Power having been thus obtained from Rome, the cardinal commenced early in the following year, 1525, to possess himself of the revenues of various monasteries

  1. Calendar, Nos. 511, 568.
  2. Rymer, Fœdera, xiv. p. 23: "Et quod Universitas studii generalis Oxoniensis ob pernuriam reddituum propemodum extinctum iri videbatur."
  3. Calendar, iv. No. 610. The bull granting the additional faculties of visitation is in Rymer, xiv. p. 18.
  4. Calendar, iv. No. 652.
  5. Rymer, xiv. p. 23.