Saints and Sinners

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Saints and Sinners
Part 3
Episode 3  |  The History Channel  |  December 22, 2018

Dr Janina Ramirez discovers how the immensely rich and powerful monasteries, that had dominated British society for a thousand years, were annihilated in less than five years. In the 15th century, eight hundred monasteries in England owned one third of the nation's land. Many monks were living in palatial monasteries and were patrons of the finest art and architecture. Janina examines monastery kitchen records and the bones of a medieval monk to discover the truth behind accusations of monastic gluttony and vice. She also explores how the arrival of the printing press put paid to the monasteries' monopoly of publishing and education. Janina then traces the story of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. She explores whether the dissolution was the violent action of a greedy and overbearing monarch or if it was the inevitable 'end of days' for a rotten and outmoded institution. She uncovers stories of shocking corruption alongside examples of extraordinary pious sacrifice. Although not a single monastery survived the systematic liquidation, Janina shows the lasting impact Britain's millennium of monasteries had on our society and culture.

Dr Janina Ramirez discovers how the immensely rich and powerful monasteries, that had dominated British society for a thousand years, were annihilated in less than five years. In the 15th century, eight hundred monasteries in England owned one third of the nation's land. Many monks were living in palatial monasteries and were patrons of the finest art and architecture. Janina examines monastery kitchen records and the bones of a medieval monk to discover the truth behind accusations of monastic gluttony and vice. She also explores how the arrival of the printing press put paid to the monasteries' monopoly of publishing and education. Janina then traces the story of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. She explores whether the dissolution was the violent action of a greedy and overbearing monarch or if it was the inevitable 'end of days' for a rotten and outmoded institution. She uncovers stories of shocking corruption alongside examples of extraordinary pious sacrifice. Although not a single monastery survived the systematic liquidation, Janina shows the lasting impact Britain's millennium of monasteries had on our society and culture.

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