HENRY VIII

Martyn Kirby, in his book ‘Sanctuary – Beverley a town of refuge’ writes:

“Henry VIII had no love of the sanctuary rights as a symbol of the power of the church. The smaller monasteries were dissolved in 1536 and the act of 1540 completed the rout. The process continued into the reign of Edward VI with the Chantries Act of 1547 sealing the fate of the powerful Collegiate Church of Beverley.

On Easter Day 1548 the rule of over 600 years by Provosts who included such men as Thomas Becket (1154) ended and the Minster became a parish church. The last Provost was Reginald Lee, a relative of Archbishop Lee of York. Archbishop Lee was a loyal supporter of Henry VIII and a political churchman. His relative, a possible nephew, was given a pension of £49 15s 0d and the Chapter House and other buildings relating to the Canons were demolished in 1550.”

The right of sanctuary was removed from Beverley in 1540.

Before 1540

Collegiate Church of St. John the Evangelist at Beverley

There were 75 persons resident in the precincts including:

The Provost , 7 Canons (including the archbishop), Precentor, Sacrist, Chancellor, 7 Rectors of the Choir, 9 Vicars Choral, 15 Chantry Priests, Master of Works, the Chamberlain , 17 Clerks of the Canons, Dignitaries and Parsons, 4 Sextons, 2 Incense Bearers, 8 choristers.

After 1540

The Parish Church of St John and St Martin (Beverley Minster)

The parish church began its new life with one vicar and two  assistants.