Small landowners, tenant farmers, and vagrants who hoped for relief from the Poor Law lived most of their lives relatively untouched by the events in Henry's palaces or in Parliament. The changes in the Church, though, did touch many people's lives in very real ways, the fate of the Catholic rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace and of the small bands of persecuted Anabaptists and Lutherans being the most sensational examples. Henry VIII's reformation of the English Church affected the character of small village parishes far from London even as it altered the landscape of the English countryside, which for centuries had rung with the sound of bells from hundreds of Catholic monastaries and convents.

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