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date: 18 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

As he faced his own dissolution, Henry VIII repeatedly invoked a religious group who had been absent from his kingdom for seven years: the monks. The 1570s saw an irrevocable change in the nature of English Catholicism as Catholic clergy trained in England died, retired, or conformed. During this period, the first waves of Englishmen trained in the new continental “seminaries” as Catholic secular priests swore allegiance to the universal Church and to the Pope as missionaries for Christ. Moreover, the new orders such as the Theatines, the Capuchins, and the Jesuits eclipsed traditional European and coenobitic monasticism. This article examines the cultural disappearance of monks, monasteries, and monasticism in England during the late medieval period. It also considers how authors such as William Shakespeare, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, Thomas Walsingham, Barnabe Googe, John Donne, William Langland, and Geoffrey Chaucer remember the monks in their works.

Keywords: monks, Catholicism, England, priests, monasticism, monasteries, medieval period, William Shakespeare, William Langland, Geoffrey Chaucer

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