The result of the "importunity" soon appeared. Two bulls were issued by Clement VII. on November 14, 1528. In the first it is stated that the king had presented a petition showing that in England there were many monasteries "in which the proper number (i.e. twelve monks or nuns) were not to be found and which had no proper income for their support. Hence regular discipline was not kept up and the divine office not properly performed. By laxity of restraint the rule of good life was not kept by the monks and nuns therein." The petition further suggested, that if these were united to other religious houses, where the day and night office was properly performed and in which good discipline was maintained, it would be better for religion. Acting on this information and in accordance with this petition, the pope by bull granted Wolsey faculties for the suggested union.
The second bull had reference to the question of the proposed cathedrals. Henry represented to Clement that monasteries had previously been suppressed in England for the purpose of establishing cathedrals. He suggested that the revenues of several more should now be granted for this purpose, and that each cathedral, so erected, should have an income of 10,000 ducats from the monastic lands. The pope, having consulted with his cardinals, desired further information, which he directed Wolsey to furnish. First, he wished to know whether any and what monasteries had previously been suppressed for such a purpose; secondly, whether there was any need of increasing the number of cathedrals; thirdly, how many monasteries would be required for the purpose, and whether the monks were to remain in the cathedrals as canons, bound by their monastic vows, but taking the dress of seculars. Lastly, he asked what would be the position of the bishop, whether he would be a suffragan of the archbishop, or immediately dependent on the Holy See. Wolsey was directed by the brief to examine witnesses as to these matters, and to send their evidence attested by oath to the pope.
Even yet, the cardinal of York was not satisfied. He again asked to be allowed to suppress a few more monasteries to obtain money for his colleges. These had apparently
- Rymer, xiv. p. 272.
- Ibid., xiv. 273.