With regard to Rievaulx Abbey, which you refer to in your opening letter, it should be noted that by 1538, the abbey had been much reduced in terms of wealth and numbers of monks. In fact there were only 23 monks left at the time of the Dissolution.
It is unlikely that Henry's soldiers actually stripped the Abbey of useful material as ordered by Henry, and it should also be noted that a large number of monks found employment as parochial clergy, or indeed as Deans or Bishops. Many were also given pensions.
Let's not demonise Henry more than he deserves.
BTW, I always enjoy your weekly letters.
Grace Church Markham
Markham, Ontario, CANADA
11 March 2013