The Dissolution of the Monasteries | A Talk by James Clark

Talk Special Event
  • Venue


  • Time

    6:30 PM

  • Price

    £3.00 plus booking fee

  • Book Tickets

Join us for this talk by Professor James Clark from Exeter University on the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century


Shortly before Easter, 1540 saw the end of almost a millennium of monastic life in England. Until then religious houses had acted as a focus for education, literary, and artistic expression and even the creation of regional and national identity. Their closure, carried out in just four years between 1536 and 1540, caused a dislocation of people and a disruption of life not seen in England since the Norman Conquest.

Drawing on the records of national and regional archives as well as archaeological remains, James Clark explores the little-known lives of the last men and women who lived in England's monasteries before the Reformation. Clark challenges received wisdom, showing that buildings were not immediately demolished and Henry VIII's subjects were so attached to the religious houses that they kept fixtures and fittings as souvenirs.

This rich, vivid history brings back into focus the prominent place of abbeys, priories, and friaries in the lives of the English people.

This talk will take place in the Cathedral library and won't be recorded or streamed. Doors will open at 6.15pm and copies of The Dissolution of the Monasteries - A New History will be available to purchase on the evening.

James Clark is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He has published widely on medieval monasteries and their place in the medieval world and he was historical advisor on the BBC TV series Tudor Monastery Farm.