Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Death of Henry VIII

Demolishing the myths. To quote author Nancy Bilyeau:
Myth: “Monks, monks, monks”
            Henry VIII broke from Rome and made himself the head of the Church of England, dissolving the monasteries. The monks and friars and nuns faithful to the Pope lost their homes and were turned out on the road. Those who defied the king and denied the royal supremacy, such as the Carthusian martyrs, were tortured and killed.  
            Did the king regret it at the end? “He expired soon after allegedly uttering his last words: ‘Monks! Monks! Monks!’" says the Wikipedia entry for Henry VIII. It’s a story that has popped up in books too. The major source for it seems to be Agnes Strickland, a 19th century poet turned historian who penned the eight-volume Lives of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest, and Lives of the Queens of Scotland, and English Princesses. Strickland writes: The king “was afflicted with visionary horrors at the hour of his departure; for that he glanced with rolling eyes and looks of wild import towards the darker recesses of his chamber, muttering, ‘Monks—monks!’ ” (Read more.)

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