The Dissolution

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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Two years later, following Henry V111s quarrel with the Pope,on January 16th, 1540, the Priory of Worcester also came to an end, and after 580 years of occupation by the Prior 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, ordered a general visitation of the monasteries. At first, only the lessor 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 Batternhall, 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 that services were read in English and the old books burned.