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Source Exercise 5: The Henrician Reformation 11

Reports such as these created the atmosphere in which the decision was taken at Court to set about closing down the kingdom’s smaller monasteries. The mixture of fact, fiction, and salacious scandal that fills the letters of Layton and his colleagues was summarised in one of the dodgiest dossiers ever presented to Parliament, the Comperta compertorum. Its recital of sexual abuse and enormities on an apparently heroic scale and systematic basis provided Parliament with the moral impetus it needed to overcome the taboo of sacrilege associated with seizing the property of the Church and to authorise the King to acquire the assets of all monasteries worth less than £200 a year net. 



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