Thomas Cromwell, the man behind the Act

In March 1536, as a result of the visitations of the monasteries carried out from summer 1535 to early 1536, the Act for the Suppression (or Dissolution) of the Lesser Monasteries was passed.

This Act only affected the “lesser monasteries”, those with less than twelve members and those worth less than £200 per year. They were to be dissolved, their heads pensioned off and their members to become secularised or moved to larger monasteries “where they may be compelled to live religiously for reformation of their lives”. Their possessions and lands were to be given to the Crown.

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