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History of Britain - Changing Lives

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7.The Reformation
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1500 - 1560

An exploration of faith and superstition in the late middle ages, and of the changes that came with the Reformation. (7 mins)

8.Shakespeare's World
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1588 next video 8/17next

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1. So many ruined monasteries... What happened to them? When and why did they fall into decline?
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2. The pilgrims' trail to Walsingham in Norfolk - a tale of medieval superstition.
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3. Had the Church become corrupt? The experience of Much Wenlock Priory in Shropshire.
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4. Decades of persecution: the Reformers risking death at the stake.
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5. Henry breaks with Rome, the monasteries are closed down - and a new kind of Church is born.

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Walsingham in Norfolk remains a place of pilgrimage, steeped in high Anglicanism and exuding spirituality.

There's plenty to see, although nothing is left of the original shrine but a marker on the grass in the ruins of the Abbey; it was destroyed by Henry 8th early in the Reformation.


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The rest of the module was filmed at Much Wenlock in Shropshire, which is a powerful and impressive place. I think I've been a bit unfair to it, using it as an illustration of monastic excess. It's a wonderful example of a Cluniac priory from the 12th century.

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