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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 303



XI.] DISSOLUTION OF MONASTERIES. 297 to the king himself that no scruples should ever hereafter touch him. / The next step of change was the dissolution of the smaller monasteries : Wolsey, in his great scheme for church reforms, had led the way to this. He had seen the increasing importance of the great towns of England, and the increasing mischief caused by the incurable uselessness of the monastic foundations; and he had obtained bulls of legation from Rome enabling him to suppress convents and establish bishoprics. That had opened the king's eyes to a new possibility, and, although he waited several years before he executed his scheme, all that was good in the scheme was Wolsey's, all that was bad in it wears an unfortunate air of having been done by Cromwell. But it was almost a point of honour with Henry to show that without the pope he could do all that Wolsey had been empowered to do. So in the autumn of 1535 Cromwell and his agents effected a visitation of the monasteries, the report of which insured their condemnation ; and, in the last session of the Long Parliament in 1536, the dissolution of the smaller houses was decreed. A new Court, the Court of Augmentations, was founded to manage the property which by the same act was vested in the king and his heirs, f The greater monasteries survived a little longer, and in their case the process of surrender took the place of a general and compulsory dissolution. In the session of 1539, however, a similar act vested in the king the property of the surrendered houses, and in that year the abbots disappeared from parliament. At the same time the king was empowered to establish new bishoprics ; suffragan bishops had been the subject of legislation in 1534, when the act was passed which supplied to the more aged and busy prelates the assistance that had been hitherto furnished by titular bishops in partibus commissioned at Rome. These acts very nearly complete the series by which


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