A report on the death of Richard Whiting
On November 15th 1539 Richard Whiting was taken from Glastonbury Abbey and tortured by Henry VIII’s advisors. Richard was an Abbott at the Abbey and was thought to be a very noble man who had quite a lot of power. His advisors somehow convinced Henry VIII that Richard Whiting was the reason for all his problems.
Henry VIII, the king of England at this time, had many problems. Henry had been secretly having an affair with Anne Boleyn, a French mistress who always knew how to get her way with him. She had been playing hard-to-get in the letters that Henry had sent to her and evidence shows that she may have asked Henry to get a divorce from Catherine Of Aragon who was his wife at the time. Anne also dropped the bombshell that she was pregnant, she knew that Henry had always wanted a son; which was the only thing Catherine could not give him. On top of that, Henry was also having problems with power and money. Henry was annoyed that the Pope and his Abbott’s had so much more power than him.
One of the kings’ main advisors at this time was Thomas Cromwell. After investigation, suspicion for Richards’ death fell on this man. Thomas Cromwell was a man that would spare other people for his own happiness. It is thought by some that when he went to check the churches and Abbeys for reasons to shut then down he made the evidence up and when his assistants’ did not discover anything wrong with the church he advised them to find something else that could be used to shut them down. Thomas knew this would impress Henry, who desperately wanted more money, leading to a promotion for him.
It seems that the kings’ second wife, Anne Boleyn also played a part in Richards’s death. As I mentioned before, Anne had asked Henry to get a divorce. But when Henry went to the Pope to get permission for it the Pope refused. This made him extremely angry and he ordered his advisors to find out who had told the Pope to say no. Of course Thomas Cromwell was one of his advisors and he wanted to please the king so he could get another promotion so he told the king Richard was one of the people that had advised the Pope.
Richards’ death is almost certainly linked to the changes in the English church that happened in the 1530s. Reports had been made by Henry’s advisors that the monks and nuns had been drinking and gambling, there were also reports of pregnancies and monks being lazy.
After much investigation it seems the main reason for Richards’s death was that Thomas Cromwell made up many lies about the abbeys causing Henry to be angry at the churches making him blame the people in charge. However, Anne Boleyn can also be blamed because she may have asked Henry to get a divorce but when the Pope refused Henrys’ advisors told him it was Richards fault. Many people might be to blame but most of the evidence points to theses two reasons.