Reviewing The Last Divine Office

The Last Divine Office was a good read for the monastery refectory.  Beginning in 1539 on New Year’s Eve (for 1540) Moorhouse’s book tells the story of the dissolution of the English monasteries under Henry VIII from the viewpoint of the Benedictine monks of Durham Abbey.  Most of the material in the middle of the book is actually a larger history of the political and religious dynamics of the reign of King Henry, but this material is sandwiched between an earlier history of Durham Abbey proper and a later history following the paths of the former Durham Benedictines as they made their way in an environment oftentimes hostile to Catholicism.  The book ends with the last Catholic moments decades after the dissolution, in 1569, when various Catholic rites were celebrated at Durham Cathedral, where three or four of the former Benedictines were present.  There is very little material about the actual dissolution of Durham.

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