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Hospital closures following the dissolution of the monastries

The Reformation

Following the refusal of the Pope to grant King Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine of Aragon (his first wife), the king created the Church of England through the Act of Supremacy in 1534. The monasteries and religious houses became a reminder of Catholicism and its power and wealth.

From 1536, King Henry VIII took the decision to destroy the monastic system through the Reformation, allowing the crown to take over the wealth of the church. Initially, the state took over the property of smaller religious houses.

The Suppression of the Monasteries Act

The Suppression of the Monasteries Act was passed in 1539 and allowed for the dissolution of larger and wealthier monasteries or religious houses.

The dissolution of the monasteries had an impact on the network of hospitals, leper houses and almshouses that had developed around religious institutions.

Hospitals were closed, and those who lived in almshouses were forced out. Those almshouses that remained unscathed were refounded on secular lines.


Johnson B.
Dissolution of the monasteries. Historic UK; nd.