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Exploring the enormous upheaval caused by the English Reformation and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, this vivid new history draws on long-forgotten material from the recesses of one of the world's greatest cathedrals--the great Benedictine Durham Priory, now the Anglican Durham Cathedral. Once a bastion of the Benedictine monks in the north of England, the Priory was dissolved after nearly 500 years on the orders of King Henry VIII in 1539, in his quest to separate the church in England from its headquarters in Rome. This illuminating guide to religious history and its social and political contexts, seen through the arches of one of England's most celebrated cathedrals, examines the devastating economic and spiritual consequences of the Dissolution, revealing how one of history's most effective and chilling apparatus of plunder and ruin erased the orders of monks and nuns that had served some 650 monastic religious houses in England and Wales.
"[An] elegant narrative." --"Boston Globe"