The Dissolution

  • 17 Mar 2019
  • Historical Studies
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On January 16th, 1540 the Priory of Worcester came to an end and after 580 years of occupation by the Priors and monks, the monastic buildings and estates were surrendered into the hands of the King.

The Dissolution of the religious houses began in 1535, when Henry, having broken with the Pope and ordered a general visitation of the monasteries. At first, only the lesser houses were suppressed, but four years later, under the King's command, Thomas Cromwell called for the surrender of all the monasteries. There had been many abuses, and Prior Moore of Worcester, the last but one at Worcester, led the life of a country gentleman at Battenhall, and spent very little time in the monastery.

The priors and monks who submitted received pensions, but those who resisted were turned out without them. Henry Holbech, the last prior, acquiesced to the charges and became the first dean, and the bulk of the property was returned to the newly-constituted Dean and Chapter. It was eight years later services were read in English and the old books burned.