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Reformation

 

The Reformation in England ended prayers for the dead, so St Stephen's looked old-fashioned. Henry VIII and especially Edward VI changed the idea of what a college should be towards what we now think of when a college is mentioned- somewhere that educates people.

By 1548 all the colleges in England were dissolved, just as the monasteries had been between 1536 and 1540. The only colleges to survive were those that were educational and not simply praying for the dead. St Stephen's didn't have a school or any other charitable purpose, such as looking after the poor, so it too was dissolved in 1548. Because the chapel was sitting empty from 1548, Edward VI gave it to the House of Commons to be their meeting place.

For the next three centuries, MPs would debate and pass laws in a building that had once been a splendid royal chapel.

 

Discover how women were involved with medieval St Stephen's Chapel.

 

 

 

 

Last updated April 2017

 

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Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Also within Living Heritage

Also within Living Heritage

Biography

You can access biographies of

Henry VIII

Edward VI

from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for free, online, using your local library card number (includes nine out of ten public libraries in the UK) or from within academic library and other subscribing networks.