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Tudor Minute August 11: Greenwich Friars Evicted

Today in 1534 140 Friars Observant were evicted from their religious house in Greenwich by Henry VIII over their support for Katherine of Aragon and their refusal to accept Henry as the Supreme Head of the Church. Their refusal to accept him, similarly to Thomas More’s, was a big PR blow to Henry, who had hoped that with these people supporting him the rest of the country would easily follow.

Out of the 140 evicted some were relocated to the Grey Friars where they were treated worse than prisoners. Others escaped abroad and a few were imprisoned in London. Out of those expelled 31 died soon after. 

Of those who did move to other monasteries their time there was not long as the dissolution of the monasteries soon began. The friars became an example of the Catholic resistance against Henry, and many later became Saints. One of those was John Forest, who had been freed after he gave in to Henry’s demands. He later regretted this, and in 1538 he was burned at the stake. Some also died of starvation in prison.

The friars evicted today in 1534.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com