Henry VIII Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Did Henry VIII ever get into so much debt that people had to  beat him to make him pay? Also, where did he get the extra money from? I am doing a project on him and need to find out information, so if there is anything else about him that you know then you can put that as well!!

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linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The first thing that comes to most people's minds when they think of Henry VIII is his many wives. Henry's real legacy, however, is the creation of the Church of England.

When he found it impossible to get the pope's approval of his divorce from Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII decided to show the pope who had the real power in England by doing away with the Catholic church and creating the Church of England, with himself at the head. He took over the churches and "desolved" the monasteries (known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries). In doing so, he gained control of all the property and wealth of the church, including gold plates, crucifixes, and the like. He sold monastery buildings and properties to wealthy persons who turned them into personal residences. Many of them are still standing and being used as family homes today. So even though he did get money by raising taxes, his ready cash greatly increased when he took over the church.

As for his ever having been beaten to make him pay a debt, I seriously doubt that occurred. Have you ever heard the expression "whipping boy"? Royal children during the time of Henry VIII had stand-ins for punishment; that is, if Henry misbehaved, his nanny would spank the stand-in, not Henry.

If you're really interested in Henry VIII, you might enjoy the book The Autobiography of Henry VIII, by Margaret George. It is completely fictional, but George includes a lot of historical details.

Good luck with your report.

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I sincerely doubt that anyone ever "beat" Henry VIII for being in debt.  He did spend freely on his clothing and on the clothing and jewels of his wives/girlfriends.  However, he taxed the people and his nobles for the money he needed for large projects like buildings, etc.  The link below is a wonderful link to Henry VIII and other Tudor family members, the Renaissance, and additional links you may find helpful in your report.  Good Luck!  This is a fascinating man and time period.


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