Neal - Houston-Packer Collection BX9333 .N4 1754 v1

Chap. I. The HISTORY of the PURITANS 13 None were more averfe to the reformation than the monks and friars : King Thefe fpoke openly againft the king's proceedings, exciting the people to He 1535íI. rebellion, and endeavouring to embroil his affairs with foreign princes; the king therefore refolved to humble them, and for this purpofe appointed a Monad eries general vifitation of the monafteries, the management of which was com- f mitted to the lord Cromwel, with the title of vijtor general, who appointed other commif(ioners under him, and gave them inlun&tions and articles of enquiry. Upon this, feveral abbots and priors to prevent a fcrutiny into their conduct, voluntarily furrender'd their honks into the king's hands; others upon examination appear'd guilty of the greateft frauds and impofi- tions on thefimplicity of the people: Many of their pretended relicks were expofed and deftroyed ; as the Virgin Mary's milk (hewed in eight places ; the coals that roa/led St. Lawrence; an angel with one wing that brought over the head of the fpear that pierced our Saviour's fide ; the roodof grace, which was fo contrived, that the eyes and lips might move upon occafion; with many others. The images of a great many pretended faints were ta- ken down and burnt, and all the rich offerings made at their (brines were feized for the crown, which brought an immenfe treafure into the Exche- quer. Upon the report of the vifitors, the parliament confented to the fuppref- Monp/leries fing of the leffer monafteries under 2001. a year value, and gave them to fupprefed. the king to the number of 376. Their rents amounted to about 320001. 153e 6 per ann. their plate jewels and furniture, to about s00000l. The churches f.p .f 3 and cloitters were for the soft part pulled down, and the lead and bells, v i. zs . and other materials fold. A new court, called the court of augmentations 27 H. 8, of the king's revenue was erected, to receive the rents, and to difpofe of the cap. 27, 28. lands, and bring the profits into theExchequer. Every religious perfon that was turned out of his cell had 45s. given him in money, of which number there were about s0000; and every governor had a penfion. But to cafe the government of this charge, the monks and friars were put intobenefices as fait as they became vacant ; by which means it came to pats that the body of the inferiour clergy were difguifed Papifts, and enemies of the re- formation. The leffer religious houfes being diffolved, the reft followed in a few years: For in the years 5537 and 1539 the greater abbies and monafteries were broken up, or furrender'd to the crown, to prevent an inquiry into their lives and manners. This railed a great clamour among the people, the monks and friars going up and down the country likebeggars, clamour- ing at the injuffice of the fuppreflion. The king to quiet them gave back s5 abbies and s6 nunneries for perpetual alms; but feveral of the abbots being convicted of plots and confpiracies againft his government, his ma- jetty refumed his grants after two years; and obtained an aEt of parliament whereby