The Dissolution of the Monasteries

The ruins of the Abbey church, which quickly fell into disrepair after the Dissolution.

1536AD - 1539AD

 After the defeat of the Pilgrimage of Grace, Henry sought to subjugate the north.  He ordered the confiscation of Jervaulx Abbey, Bridlington Priory and other religious houses whose leaders had been convicted of treason for dealing with the rebels.

York’s turn followed.  In November 1538 the Gilbertine Priory in Fishergate surrendered.  The Benedictine Priory of Holy Trinity followed a month later.  Before Christmas York’s four friaries yielded too.

The two richest foundations, St Leonard’s Hospital and the York Abbey, St Mary's, fell in late 1539.  Around 150 York monks, canons, nuns and friars were affected. They had entered their houses expecting to stay for life, so their expulsion must have been traumatic.

The state made no financial provisions for those who were uprooted before 1536, but after that time the York monks and canons received a pension linked to the annual income of their houses.

Some of the monks and friars settled in York and worked within various city churches.  They were conservative in belief and so became a bar to Henry’s religious changes at the grass roots of the church.