In 1517 a German priest, Martin Luther published criticisms of the Catholic church which were so serious that he started a breakaway (Protestant) church not under the Pope's control. The Catholic Church was unpopular with many people. They felt the church was more interested in money than in faith.
Relations between the Pope and Henry VIII deteriorated during the 1520's and 1530's. He was keen to divorce his first wife and marry again to beget a male heir to the throne. The Pope refused to grant Henry a divorce.
By a series of Acts of Parliament Henry VIII brought in the 'Reformation', making England a Protestant country. This led to the closing down or 'Dissolution' of the monasteries. Henry was always short of money and his investigation into the wealth of the monasteries (the Valor Ecclesiasticus published in 1535) showed the monasteries owned a quarter of the land in England. Sale of these lands swelled the king's coffers!
Henry made himself head of the Church of England.
Some people were prepared to burn at the stake rather than give up their old religion.
Stone and timber is being taken away. What do you think it will be used for?
Click the picture for answer.
When Henry VIII made himself Head of the Church of England so he could divorce his first wife, the monasteries were destroyed.