Today, monasteries are refuges from the frantic pace of modern life; tranquil retreats insulated from the events, debate and hubbub that dictate life outside their walls. But, it wasn't always like this. For 1,000 years monasteries were at the very heart of public life in the British Isles. Join Dr. Janina Ramirez as she brings the past to life and relates how the monasteries forged a sense of national identity, helped shape the world around them and created a dazzling millennium of art. This program examines how monasteries yielded to moral corruption, faced scholarly competition by secular universities, and were increasingly opposed by Henry VIII and Protestant Reformation ideas. It traces Thomas Cromwell's investigation that quickly resulted in the monastic dissolution-a largely bloodless ideological revolution relieving abbeys of their wealth and religious authority and representing a fundamental social shift.