It has only recently sunk in to me that the destruction of English Catholic churches, monasteries, and works of art in the Protestant revolution under Henry VIII et.al. is pretty comparable to what has recently appalled the civilized world when done by Muslim fanatics to Buddhist and other artifacts in the Middle East. Here's an interesting story in The Guardian about a statue that survived.
As a student, reading all that English literature in which ruined abbeys and the like make an appearance, it really didn't occur to me to wonder why they were ruined. It was a great crime.