Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/74

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Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries

The abbot of York also complains of Wolsey's seizure of Romburgh Priory, in Suffolk, which was a cell of St. Mary's Abbey. He says, that on the 11th of September 1528, certain officers of the cardinal came to the priory, read the authority of the pope and king, "entered into the same priory, and that done, took away as well the goods moveable of the said priory . . . and also certain muniments, evidences, and specialities touching and appertaining unto our monastery, which we had lately sent unto our said prior and brethren there." The cell, he says, had been given to them by Alan Niger, earl of Richmond, 400 years before, and the abbey was burdened, by reason of the gift, with masses, suffrages, and alms. Further, as the revenues of the priory do not amount to more than £30, the abbot offers "towards your special, honourable, and laudable purpose concerning the erection and foundation of the said college and school . . . 300 marks sterling, which shall be delivered" at once, if the monastery is spared.[1]The representation was of no avail, and Romburgh was annexed to the Ipswich college.

The papal permissions to alienate monastic property thus obtained only served to increase Wolsey's desire for further dissolutions. In October 1528, Clement VII. was being worried and bullied by the cardinal's agents in the matter of the divorce. In turn they were threatening, exhorting, and beseeching the pope to comply with Henry's royal will, and even if necessary permit him to have two wives[2] at once. Wolsey also instructed his agents to make further overtures to allow him to take monastic property. On behalf of the king they presented a petition that certain religious houses might be given over to support the king's colleges at Windsor and at Cambridge. These two establishments the agents represented as having been founded by the grandparents of the English king, for education and for the support in old age of court officials. The pope was informed that the foundations were now reduced to poverty, and that Henry could not finish the work through want of means. Clement VII. was, no doubt, only too willing at this critical time to give way in any possible matter to the English king. Hence, "because of all that Henry had

  1. Wright, Suppression of Monasteries (Camden Soc.), p. I.
  2. Calendar, iv. 4897. See Lewis, Schism, Introd., p. cxxvi. &c.