Economic and Social Changes

  • H. Maynard Smith


Scandals among the clergy and superstitions among the people no doubt called for reformation; but they were not the only causes of the Reformation that occurred. The mediaeval system was everywhere breaking up; social and economic changes were taking place; and perfectly orthodox people were asking, “Ought the monasteries to be preserved?” The ordinary man complained that the abbeys absorbed too much of the national wealth and contributed too little to the national prosperity.1 He resented the privileges of the abbeys and asserted that they were enjoyed at the expense of the community. He condemned their principle of seclusion, maintaining that the country had a claim to the co-operation of all its citizens. England had owed much to the abbeys in the past, but the day for their destruction was at hand.


Social Change Henry VIII Italian Relation Ecclesiastical Authority Wealthy Merchant 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1963

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  • H. Maynard Smith

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