This week I am sticking with an ecclesiastical theme. In 1529 there were more than 800 monastic houses in England and Wales. By 1547 when Henry VIII died there were none left thanks to Thomas Cromwell’s organised approach to the administrative processes that dissolved them between 1536 and 1540. The first wave of suppressions came in 1536 with the dissolution of smaller monastic houses valued at less than £200 per year. Having said that many, particularly the nunneries, received a stay of execution because there was nowhere else for the inhabitants to go. The Second Act of Suppression followed in 1539 which saw all monastic houses whatever their size or value being closed. By 1540 fifty monastic houses a month were being suppressed and dismantled.
I’m not expecting you to list all of them! Indeed, 200 of the monastic houses were friaries which brings the number down to a more modest 625. Of those, 200 were nunneries.
Firstly can you list 23 of the monastic houses – one for each letter of the alphabet with XYZ counting as one rather than 3?
And secondly how many can you name? I’m not totally sure how many I can think of, so its a bit of a challenge for me as well. You do have a slight head start as my post about cathedrals listed former abbey churches which were turned into cathedrals at the time of the Reformation.
Have you checked out the History Extra website? It’s the home of the BBC History Magazine so contains some interesting articles as well as a podcast and information about historical tv and film. Here’s a link to get you started – it’s about clerical abuses of the kind that Thomas Cromwell’s commissioners were looking for as they set off to compile the Valor Ecclessiasticus.