What event prompted the dissolution of Lesnes Abbey?
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The Lesnes Abbey in southeast London was one of the first abbeys dissolved by Cardinal Wolsey in 1524. Wolsey wanted to raise money to build his college at Oxford. To divert funds for this, the Cardinal had received permission from Pope Clement VII to close the smallest monasteries in England. Lesnes Abbey only had six monks at the time and therefore was closed and its resources and land reappropriated. The abbey had been a financial loss for most of its history anyway and its buildings were already in a poor state of repair. The land it was on proved too marshy to be easily or inexpensively farmed. In 1536 the land was seized by King Henry VIII when he dissolved all monasteries in his kingdom and their land seized for the Crown. After the dissolution, the monastic buildings at Lesnes were torn down and their material repurposed.