Henry VIII, the Reign - the Blog
By Mark Holinshed
Seasons Greetings from Henry VIII
Henry in Parliament
On Christmas Eve 1546 Henry VIII made a speech in Parliament, it was a rare event – he was no orator – and it was to be his last.
Most of those assembled would rather have been at home ready to spend the anniversary of Christ’s birth with their loved ones. The roads were wet, muddy and probably frozen. The days were short, and many would spend Christmas day and beyond in the saddle.
But the king wanted to say his piece, within little more than a year Henry would be dead.
He began with love and thanks – thanks for the approval into law by Parliament of the Chantries Bill. Like the monasteries, chantries had been an important part of religious life in England for centuries, and may be defined thus;
The act to which the king gave thanks defined chantries as representing misapplied funds and misappropriated lands. The Act provided that all chantries and their properties would thenceforth belong to the King for as long as he should live.
It was a divisive piece of legislation and drove deeper the divisions in the kingdom between those who followed the Catholic creed and those of the newly formed Protestant doctrine.
The funds were for the furtherance of the war against France from which the Seymour faction of the government intended to benefit by keeping the French out of Scotland and away from Mary Queen of Scots. It was the foundation of a strategy that developed into the so-called Rough Wooing to force an alliance that would have had the future boy king of England, Edward Seymour married to the Queen of Scotland, and so unite the two kingdoms.
Historian A.G. Dickens take on it was;