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Friday, October 16, 2020

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The Age of Plunder, by W. G. Hoskins

Henry VIII and the Destruction of the English Catholic Church

by Ferdinand III


 

 

 

 

English history has largely been revised, rewritten and terribly distorted by Protestants and Atheists.  In this reforming of facts, Henry VIII is often portrayed in the opposite vein of his real persona: a ‘manly’ King, a true leader, a personality which did not damage his country but immensely improved it.  This myopic and dishonest assessment is taken apart by Hoskins.  Henry VIII at some point (mid-20s) became mentally imbalanced; he killed tens of thousands of Catholics in the largest transfer of resources in history, rightly called by Hoskins as the great Plunder (until 1991 and the end of Soviet Communism, when the new Communists in Russia appropriated all of the natural resources).  His daughter killed at least 10.000 Catholics, her half-sister Queen Mary who preceded her, burnt 300 Protestants who were mainly charged with treason and plotting civil war.  Mary is of course the ‘Bloody’ one in history because she was Catholic.  Henry and his daughter Elizabeth, the golden children of the ‘golden age’ because they were Protesters and Tyrants, not bloody at all apparently but angelic and ‘progressive’.

 

Hoskins quotes Thomas More who appropriately sums up the Plundering tyranny of Henry VIII during the 1520s and 1530s:

THERE is a pregnant sentence in More’s Utopia, written when he was a mature and widely experienced man of thirty-eight, which sums up his judgment of the realities that lay behind the facade of government and public attitudes: ‘When I consider and weigh in my mind all these commonwealths which nowadays anywhere do flourish, so God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth.’ This profound truth remains undiluted in twentieth-century Britain, and is equally well disguised from public debate.

 

The mental derangement of the tyrant King Henry VIII (murdered wives and all that):

While Henry lived, men rightly feared his ferocity. His arbitrary executions, his ‘state trials’, remind one inevitably of Stalin’s Russia: he was indeed the Stalin of Tudor England.  But until his second daughter, Elizabeth, died, and with her the last of the Tudors, men dared not speak freely about his loathsome character. It was left to Sir Walter Raleigh, himself under sentence of death in the Tower under James I, to sum him up….

 

Henry VIII was an economic disaster for England:

To put it simply, Henry VIII inherited a healthy trading position from his father, besides an immense personal fortune, and squandered all his inheritance in foreign wars and madly extravagant building at home. He was, apart from all else, an economic disaster for his country.

 

The small population base made a general plundering of the masses considerably difficult:

For England and Wales together we may estimate a total of about 2,600,000 people. This tiny population still reflected by and large the distribution of medieval times. If we take the absolute totals of the listed men — archers, billmen, and those able to supply harness — and after all this is what the government was interested in, and not in refinements such as the numbers of able-bodied men per square mile, the outstanding fact is that the three eastern counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were as a whole the most densely peopled part of England.

 

Henry VIII’s megalomaniacal spending and warring, bankrupted England:

 

Perhaps it is best to sum it up by saying that Dietz reckons that the total cost of the wars with France and Scotland between 1511 and 1547 amounted to £2,134,784, Scotland alone costing some £350,000. And still nothing was solved by this egomaniac. Even his so-called ‘victories’ proved to be nonsense: the capture of Boulogne in 1544 cost nearly £600,000 and hanging on to it afterwards another £400,000 odd — a million pounds expended on one useless military endeavour. Wars were now costing far more than in the recent past, due not only to a slight monetary inflation but also to their growing scale. When another war loomed up, that of 1542-46, Cromwell knew beforehand that it would surpass all previous wars in costs: and so it did.

 

But Henry VIII still massively taxed his largely agrarian, low-density population base to fund his wars:

The massive taxation of the 1520s had been soon wasted. Still more revenue was needed despite the rising popular discontent, brought to a climax by the official repudiation in 1529 of the Loan of 1522.

 

The great mass of people owned little or no land, and possessed but a tiny fraction of the goods of the kingdom. Whether land was more unequally distributed than goods is impossible to determine, or whether this gross inequality in the distribution of wealth was more marked by the end of the sixteenth century than at the beginning. One thing, however, is certain: the century was a golden age for the Shearers, not to be paralleled until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (by shearers, Hoskins is referring to the plunderers, shearing the peasants as one would a sheep).

 

When the peasants could no longer be squeezed dry, the Church loomed as the most obvious target of plunder.

The Church owned 27.3 per cent of the temporal freehold income, the peerage 8.6 per cent, the Crown 9 per cent, and the gentry 55 per cent. We have no direct information about freeholders other than the gentry, except at a slightly later date and from a somewhat dubious source — the lay subsidy assessments of 1546.

 

Church owned just about one-fifth of the wealth of England at the time. From the Crown’s point of view the county totals are the figures that mattered, so let us accept them for the moment at their face value. Kent was by far the richest county in England, even more so if we could reckon in the Cinque Ports. Once again the eastern counties proper stand very high, Norfolk in second place, Essex third, and Suffolk sixth. Wiltshire emerges as the fourth richest, Devon as fifth. The ranking of 1524-25 is somewhat different because the tax figures take in the multitude of people assessed at less than £2 in worldly goods and there we find Devon ranking second to Kent, with Norfolk, Essex and Suffolk next in order.

 

London then as now, the parasite eating the hosts found in the hinterland, the court in London viewing the extremities of the kingdom as little more than food, in an economy that was 90% national, not internationally based:

 

This metropolitan illusion persists strongly to this day; yet even in the late twentieth century the provinces remain the industrial and agricultural strength of Britain, and London largely a grey and inflated parasite on them. It is probable that the coastal and inland trades were worth at least ten times as much as all the overseas trades put together, and very likely considerably more in the first half of the sixteenth century. We have no statistical evidence in this field before Gregory King’s analysis of the English economy in the late seventeenth century, when he estimated the total national product at £50.8 million and exports at £4.3 million, or about 8.5 per cent of total production. In other words, only one-twelfth of the total production of the country entered into foreign trade even at this date.

 

During the 1530s and 1540s over 70% of Church lands were transferred to the Court of Henry VIII.  The court worthies helped themselves to the plunder.  Usually the takeover was done under the disguise of a ‘lawful court of augmentations’, where the appropriated land was ‘sold’ to the court worthy at a low cost.  This worthy might then re-sell it to another to make a profit, or use the land and its associated rents and economy to build his own fortune.  Of course, the more powerful of the court members would help themselves to more than 1 estate.  Monasteries were torn down (at least 1000 were destroyed), art, libraries, books and treasure either stolen, resold, burnt or abandoned.  Thousands of religious forced to flee or exit the Church altogether.

 

Court of Augmentations already skilled in manipulating monastic property in their own interests. The next step followed quickly: a demand from the King that the lands so leased be exchanged for some ex-monastic property. The King then handed over the lands to some officer like Sir Edward North, treasurer of the Court of Augmentations (later promoted chancellor) who promptly resold at a high profit to another predator. It was a shameless land-racket in which, as Cranmer wrote in 1546, it was not even the King who gained but the people who surrounded him.

 

Was the real point to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could marry the demonic harlot Ann Boleyn?  Or was it simply to pay for wars, spending, and combine Church and State to his own authority?  Or was it also just to enrich himself, as an older, fat, demented, confused ogre?

Henry’s total income from land was well over £40,000 towards the end of his reign. Out of this he accumulated the largest fortune ever known in England, which he left to his profligate and disastrous son.

 

Don’t expect to find much criticism in the current revisionist historical literature on Henry VIII or his daughter. 

 

 


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