Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/65

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Cardinal Wolsey and the Monasteries

besides those of St. Frideswide's in Oxford. The papal bull was ratified by the king on March 15th, and several parish churches, formerly belonging to the suppressed religious houses, were appropriated by letters patent to the new foundation.[1] But both the time and the agents Wolsey employed to effect the dissolutions conduced to render the matter most unpopular. Just at this period Henry was endeavouring to raise a large loan from his people "against the time the king should pass the sea." The amount asked was no less than "the sixth part of every man's substance," and that it "should without delay be paid in money or plate to the king for the furniture of his war."[2] Wareham warned Wolsey in the spring of the year how unpopular this "amicable grant" was in Kent.[3] The work of suppression was undoubtedly disliked by both clergy and laity.

In the July of 1525 the archbishop again wrote to the cardinal about the difficulties his policy was creating in the southern parts of England. The inhabitants of Tunbridge strongly objected to the dissolution of a monastery of Austin canons from which they had derived many advantages. Warham was commissioned to go there and endeavour to persuade them that it was much better to have "forty children of that country educated and after sent to Oxford" than to have six or seven canons living amongst them; but the people did not think so. After discussing the matter for five or six days they again met Warham, and gave him a list of those who desired the continuance of their ancient priory. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood no less than of the town "would rather have the said place not suppressed," wrote the archbishop, "if it might stand with the king's pleasure." The murmurs about the matter were very difficult to repress, and this he told Wolsey, who had a "suspicion that the bruit" was against himself.[4]

  1. Rot. Pat. 18 Hen. VIII. p. i, mm. 21, 22.
  2. Hall, Union of the Famelies of Lancastre and Yorke, ed. 1548, fol, 138d.
  3. Ellis, Original Letters, 1st Series, iii. p. 367.
  4. Calendar, iii. 1470-1. Warham to Wolsey, July 2nd and 3rd, 1525. Hall, ut sup., fol. 137, gives the following account of these suppressions:—The cardinal "suddenly entered by his commissioners into the said houses, and put out the religious and took all their goods, moveables, and scarcely gave to the poor wretches anything except it were to the heads of the house. And then he caused the escheator to sit and find the houses void, as relinquished, and found the kingfounder where other men were founders, and with these lands withall he endowed his colleges."