Why Richar Whiting, Abbot of Glastonbury, Killed in 1539?

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  • Topic: Glastonbury Abbey, Abbot, Somerset
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  • Published : May 6, 2013
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Why Was Richard Whiting,
Abbot of Glastonbury, Killed In 1539?

On 15th of November 1539 Richard Whiting was executed at the top of Glastonbury Tor. Before Richard was executed he was dragged through the streets of Glastonbury. He was hung until his last breath and then they cut the rope, he was drawn open and all of his intestines and his heart where burnt in a fire. His arms and legs got chopped off with an axe the four parts where sent to Bath, Wells, Taunton and Ilchester to warn people what Henry VIII can do. His head was put on a spike at the front of Glastonbury abbeys gates.

To explain why Richard Whiting was killed we can start with the problems of Henry VIII. Henry had three major problems he wanted a son, money and power. Henry’s wife Catherine of Argon has already had a child Mary but no son; she has had many miscarriages so it is clear she would not have a healthy son. Since Catherine could not have a son he wanted a divorce but only the pope can give a divorce and he said no. his second problem he needed money because he wanted to go off to France and fight battles to gain more power in Europe, but these wars are expensive and Henry is bankrupt, his personal life also was very expensive. Finally he wants power Henry has wanted to control the church; since medieval times there had been struggles over whether priests should obey the Pope or the King. The powerful monasteries were loyal to the Pope. Henry resented this. He wanted to control the Church and so he did so then all of his problems where solved. So now he can divorce Catherine, he chops her head off and says she has been sinful and not a good wife. After that he married the pregnant Anne Boyleyn hoping for a son. Now all of the priests and monks had to obey Henry.

In 1535 Thomas Cromwell, Henrys Chief Minister, sent out hand picked inspectors to report on the state of the monasteries. He was looking for excuses to close them down. The inspectors were given clear instructions. From...
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