Video Interview: History and Background

9 December 10

Tudors, Henry VII, Fasting Girls…

I am not sure how editor’s do it, but somehow my 45 minutes of “um“s and “what did you say again“s and “Oh gosh, I can’t remember“s have become a discussion of some of the basic historical realities facing the characters in the book.

This part of the interview focuses on the political implications of Henry VIII’s decision to name himself head of the English church and catalyze the English Reformation. We know a lot about the kings and queens, in part because as modern people we sure understand what politics is all about! What is less well known is how Medieval Christianity as integral to every part of medieval life and that monks and nuns and hermits and all kinds of religious folk lived in every corner of England.

To watch this video on my youtube channel, click here.

During the transition between the power of the Medieval church being centered in Rome, and the power of the Medieval Church being centered in the English Monarchy, there was tremendous upheaval. Burnings at the stake were only part of what happened. The other huge change was that Henry VIII and his crew literally dismantled the Monasteries and sent the monks and nuns home—or executed them. Henry and his bunch wanted to undercut the power of Rome in England, and perhaps more importantly, Henry wanted the wealth in jewels, lands, businesses that the monks and nuns owned. All monastic lands and enterprises (and the rich monasteries were like local or even international corporations) were dismantled and added up, or in totality just given over to the Crown. It was an unprecedented and violent change in the social and religious life of England.

Anna Richenda

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