16th Century History origin of the Little Jack Horner story?
Little Jack Horner was reputed to have been the Steward to Richard Whiting (1461 - 1539) the Bishop of Glastonbury. The Steward had an important role and was responsible for managing the household, collecting taxes and keeping accounts.
The Church, the King and the Gold
Glastonbury was the largest and wealthiest Abbey in England and this Benedictine Monastery owned extensive lands and manors in the county of Somerset. Between 1536 and 1540, after breaking away from the Catholic Church, King Henry VIII and his chief minister Thomas Cromwell set about the systematic Dissolution of all of the Monasteries in England. The reason for was to loot the monasteries of their gold and silver and seize the monastic lands. By 1539 Glastonbury was the only religious house left in Somerset and it was only at matter of time before Glastonbury Abbey was also seized.
It is rumoured that the Bishop tried to bribe the King. He sent his Steward, Richard Whiting, with a gift of twelve title deeds to various English manorial estates.