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The Great Abbey at Halas (1214-1538) By David Macklin

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

By David Macklin

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THIS year is the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Great Abbey at Halas dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint John

Abbot William Taylor said that the king

would not dissolve the monasteries,

he would not dare

to do such a thing.

The Pope would unleash

the wrath of Catholic Europe.

His army would dump

the ambitious usurpers

into the Thames

and rid the nation

of this Tudor dynasty forever.

Henry's commissioners came,

they came with armed men

to the great Abbey at Halas.

As circling vultures do,

they descended upon the Abbey,

tearing its flesh, ripping out its innards.

They removed its riches, sold its land

and allowed the fabric

to be used for building projects

far and wide.

The abbeys were their carrion

and they feasted

and they gorged themselves

for the corpulent king

and his opportunistic lackeys.

A spiritual oasis,

a seat of learning,

a centre for medical care and advancement,

a political and administrative hub,

a civilising centre from which the rule of law emanated

was brutally savaged.

No longer was there a sanctuary

for the marginalised and the needy.

By an extravagant, maniacal monarch

it was plundered,

by a demonic despot

it was robbed and vandalised,

destroyed to bolster his treasury.

A beautiful building the Abbey at Halas,

built by craftsmen and artisans

who fashioned a gem set in a hollow.

Now gone forever.

The leaders and support structures

for a whole community gone,

a religion wrecked and a culture ended.

A centuries old institution

torn asunder

ransacked by a ruler,

a ruler ravaged by cerebral defects

caused by sexually transmitted diseases.

Centuries later

we see the bare bones,

the skeletal remains

of the great Abbey at Halas.

The whole country

must have felt

that it had been at war.

Henry's legacy was schism,

devastation and ruins.

Sad ruins,

sad ruins now.

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