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Talking of History Number 1: Henry VIII and the Death of the Monasteries
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Talking of History Number 1: Henry VIII and the Death of the Monasteries

Written By : Berwick Coates
Performed By : Berwick Coates
Published By : Berwick Coates
47 minutes
Categories : Pre 1900
Royalty and Heads of State
Social & Economic
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The End of the First National Welfare System

In less than fifty months, Henry VIII and his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, swept away the monasteries, which had been part of English life for nearly a thousand years. Why?

Most of us have seen monks in films, usually extending a pale hand over the head of the weeping heroine and telling her that she must ‘have faith’. Quite a few of us were taught by nuns. Nearly all of us have seen a ruined monastery, or at least a picture of one.

For a lot of people, that is about that – holy, if impractical, comfort from the males, severe, frigid discipline from the females, and a vague impression that things are not what they used to be.

Monks and nuns, by any standards, are an odd lot. So how did their monasteries and nunneries get there in the first place? What went on in them? And why are they not there now?

Number 1 of the Talking of History series by Berwick Coates.

See Talks Number 2 and 3 in the Talking of History series on Cardinal Wolsey and The Duke of Wellington.

Berwick Coates holds an honours degree in History from Cambridge University, and has been studying, teaching, writing, and talking about History for forty years. He has presented History to all abilities, all ages, and all walks of life.

He has published five books, and is working on a trilogy of historical novels about eleventh-century Normandy, as well as a historical whodunit about the Crusades.

‘After a lifetime spent getting people interested in History, it is my belief that there is no substitute for the spoken word. People like being talked to. And they like to know where they come from. History gives us our roots; without roots, nothing grows.'
‘It is also my belief that people will tackle the most complicated topics if those topics are presented with care, timing, sympathy, and humour. These talks may start with a light touch – even perhaps a superficial one – but that is only to get you on board. From then on, all I ask you to do is listen, and enjoy the ride.'
‘After many of my previous talks, people have come up to me and said, “I wish I had had History presented like this when I was at school.” Well, now is your chance to catch up.’

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