Thorns on the Tudor Rose: Monks, Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars

Thorns on the Tudor Rose: Monks, Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars

Thorns on the Tudor Rose: Monks, Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars

Thorns on the Tudor Rose: Monks, Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars

Excerpt

There are many works on Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries and the function of Tudor poor laws, but I found few statements concerning the impact of the Dissolution on contemporary poverty problems. Most authors have dismissed this aspect of the issue by taking either a pro-Roman Catholic position that the Dissolution was a catastrophe for the poor or a pro-Protestant position that the monasteries were decadent and actually increased the problems of the poor. This study will, I hope, throw additional light on the foggy interpretative relationship made by historians between the Dissolution and the poverty and vagrancy during Tudor times.

It is not possible to write a statistical monograph comparing monastic disbursement of funds for poverty with those disbursed under the Tudors after the Dissolution. However, there are other approaches to the problem of poverty. For example, one object of this study is to prove that late medieval and early modern British poverty care formed a continuum in the manner of collecting and administering money for the poor. The Dissolution and the Tudor poor laws actually altered traditional practices very little, except that the Dissolution removed one source of poor relief. If this is an acceptable statement, then the need for a comparison will have been eliminated, and recognition of the very sameness of the poverty care before and after the Dissolution merely proves the point.

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