Henry VIII took his most decisive step against the power of the church (in England) in 1538, when he began the Dissolution of the Monasteries. He did it piecemeal, perhaps to avoid too much outcry at the start. First the small, less powerful houses had their property confiscated and their buildings blighted (made unsuitable for use). They were followed the next year by the large houses. Philosophical concepts of the power of the king over church may have played a part in Henry’s decision to suppress the monasteries, but so did greed. The monasteries were rich, and a lot of that wealth found its way directly or indirectly to the royal treasury. Some of the monastery buildings were sold to wealthy gentry for use as country estates. Many others became sources of cheap building materials for local inhabitants. One of the results of the Dissolution of the Monasteries is that those who bought the old monastic lands were inclined to support Henry in his break with Rome, purely from self interest. (sourced from the Britian Express website)
One of the more interesting historic homes which shows this piece of history is Newstead Abbey. Take a look at Nottingham Council’s videos of the abbey – or go and visit yourself?