Lead: Beginning in 1536, King Henry VIII of England began to confiscate the once-Catholic monasteries of England. His seizure of Glastonbury was made easier by the treachery of Thomas Horner.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Most of the monasteries submitted to this process with little resistance. Henry actually showed some compassion, giving some of the priests he considered unemployable a small pension for life, but those who resisted, he crushed ruthlessly. One those who held out was Richard Whiting, the Abbot of the ancient Cathedral at Glastonbury, near the western coast just south of Bristol. Whiting was eighty and had little to lose, but he tried to placate the King. He sent a Christmas present, the deed to twelve manorial estates which he hid in a Christmas pie. He entrusted this pastry delight to his steward, Thomas Horner, and sent him off to London. Horner was a realist. He knew very well that Whiting's gesture was useless. Henry would have Glastonbury. On the way, the disloyal steward popped open the pie and stole the deed to the rich manorial estate at Mells.