What really happened when the monasteries were suppressed….?

Roche Abbey, near Rotherham, which was suppressed in June 1538

“….Despite being described by many as ‘an eyewitness account’, the Falle [of the Religiouse Howses] is nothing of the sort; in June 1538, when Roche was suppressed, Sherbrook was no more than four years of age. Instead, we must look to the motivation behind Sherbrook’s words, written three decades after the event….”

Good heavens, this might almost have been written about More’s account of what is supposed to have happened to the sons of Edward IV in the Tower. But no, it’s about Michael Sherbrook’s Falle of the Religiouse Howses, which concerns the Dissolution of the Monasteries at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. Except that Roche couldn’t have known much of what he was witnessing, if anything. The intricacies of it all would certainly have passed him by.

If you wish to know more, please read History Extra* and you will find that—like More’s account of events in the reign of Richard III—Roche is wide of the mark. But, of course, Roche was very influential indeed in forming the notions we have today of exactly what went on. I confess I am as guilty as anyone of being prejudiced against what happened.

Read, and see what you think.

* Since writing this article I see that History Extra requires a temporary free subscription in order to read the entire article. It was available to me in full when I first found it.


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