THE FALL OF THE MONASTERIES
T HE meaning of the royal supremacy speedily showed itself in action. Although the pope, shocked by the deaths of the martyrs, dated in August 1535 the Bull of excommunication already prepared, and sanctioned another Bull depriving Henry of his realm -- never actually launched -- Henry, secured by the mutual animosities of Charles and Francis, proceeded steadily upon his way. When, in January 1536, Queen Catherine died, he felt that his path was made clear, and Cromwell bluntly told a servant of Chapuys that relations between England and the empire would now be easier. The epitaph of the dead queen was written in the words of him who had long been her husband: 'God be praised, we are free from all suspicion of war.'
While these arrogant acts expressed his master's determination, Cromwell was taking measures to exploit the new financial assets of the Crown and at the same time to rivet upon England the bonds of the new authority. On 15 January 15351 the king formally assumed by ordinance the title of Supreme Head on earth of the Church, and Cromwell, as vicar-general, was free to exercise in his own person powers even greater than those which Wolsey had enjoyed. These powers he used first of all in the realm of finance, for the question of finance was pressing. The Reformation parliament, which did so much for Henry's power, made him no grant of consequence and he was reluctant to apply coercion; yet money was urgently needed. Although the government kept out of war, it could not avoid some outlay upon the defences. In 1533 alone the northern border cost nearly £25,000; the Geraldine rebellion in Ireland2 cost, in 1534, £38,000 more than the Irish government could supply; fortifications at Dover and Calais were expensive;3 the suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace cost £50,000; the king was building palaces, and the upkeep of the court became steadily dearer as the value of money fell. After 1534 France paid no more pensions, and the customs revenue, owing mainly____________________