By the 20th century the stewardship of the Liberty of St Edmund and the Bury St Edmunds liberty were both in the hands of the Marquess of Bristol.King Henry VIII now began to convert the seized properties of the church into cash.
The poorest in society would suffer most from many of these changes.
The library of books at the abbey does not seem to have attracted much attention from collectors at the time, and M R James thought that they were mostly acquired by local Bury people.
It was getting a steady stream of immigration into its cloth trade, and Gottfried believed that its population had by this time regained its pre-plague levels.
In 1340 the population was about 7,150, falling to 3,000 by 1440. Local agriculture was highly productive, depending on Bury for its market, and as a marketing centre for onward distribution.
The Sheriff had never had a direct control over the area of the Liberty.
Instead, there had been a Steward of the Liberty, at least since the days of William the Conqueror.
The details of each sale were settled by the Court of Augmentations which was responsible for the disposal of former monastic lands for the crown.
Nicholas Bacon was Solicitor to the Court of Augmentations from 1537 to 1546, and he had local connections.
It would probably be 50 years before there was much interest in them from collectors.
Many manuscripts may have simply been disposed of as waste materials.
"For the rich men, the clothiers, be concluded and agreed among themselves to hold and pay one price for weaving, which price is too little to sustain households upon, working day and night, holy day and week day, and many weavers are reduced to the position of servants." The Liberty of St Edmund, covering the area of West suffolk, had been the barony of the Abbot of St Edmunds up to 1539.