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
ransacked by a ruler,
a ruler ravaged by cerebral defects
caused by sexually transmitted diseases.
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 now.