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The Last Office: 1539 And The Dissolution Of A Monastery
Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, through the never-before-told story of how one priory was saved and become Durham's mighty cathedral
Paperback, 283 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Phoenix
(first published March 13th 2008)
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This excellent book is about Henry VIII's suppression on the English monasteries with particular focus on the monastery and cathedral of Durham. Henry's lust for women and lust for more money led him to suppress monastic institutions that had been at the heart of English religious life for a thousand years. Henry had the help of the able and very ruthless administrator Thomas Cromwell. At first it was only the smaller houses which were suppressed, but later, even the larger houses fell to Henry' ...more
Examines the effect of the Dissolution of the Monasteries on the church establishment at Durham, one of the most powerful and wealthy of England's cathedrals and home of the shrine of St. Cuthbert. It is one thing for Henry VIII to order seizure of property, but something else to actually make the legal framework for unpicking 500 years of charters, deeds, wills, disputed property lines, buried bodies and church furnishings with big honking emeralds in them. I am always torn between feeling badl ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Mary Sperry rated it 3 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Lots and lots of detail about finances and property, but very little about people and faith. I guess that I expected social and religious history. Moorhouse clearly did a ton of research. but I didn't really get a feel for the times. What made previously faithful monks so willing to walk away from the faith to which they'd devoted their lives? What happened to the monks who were forcibly laicized? How did the change affect the people in the communities aligned with the monasteries? I didn't get ...more
Anyone who has ever visited Durham Cathedral will find this book interesting, but it certainly becomes tedious in places. Moorhouse becomes a bit too mired down in minutiae and details, but still manages to tell the story of the English Reformation as witnessed among one place and people. For Anglicans who love history this would be an interesting read; if both criteria don't apply, take a pass.
Well written and easy to read, but certainly favoured the Monasteries. There was really no discussion of the wealth of the Monasteries and the fact that they did require reform. So the decision to shut them down, perhaps, was not just a money grab by Henry VIII; or perhaps it was a money grab with a reformation rationalization.
This is a very readable history of King Henry VIII's religious break with Rome and the dissolution of the monastic houses in England. I think there were too many instances where Moorhouse devolved into trivia instead of relating the story and this broke up the narrative. Very informative though.
Geoffrey Moorhouse, FRGS, FRSL, D.Litt, was an English journalist and author. He was born Geoffrey Heald in Bolton and took his stepfather's surname. He attended Bury Grammar School. He began writing as a journalist on the Bolton Evening News. At the age of 27, he joined the Manchester Guardian where he eventually became chief feature writer and combined writing book with journalism.More about Geoffrey Moorhouse...
Many of his bo ...more
Many of his bo ...more