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The Pilgrimage of Grace

Questioning ideas about the Lincolnshire Pilgrimage, October 1536 and the Pilgrimage of Grace, late 1536 to early 1537

David Marshall

on 25 October 2012

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Transcript of The Pilgrimage of Grace

What questions can we ask about the Pilgrimage of Grace? What links are there between the two rebellions? Objection to unfair taxation was a familiar theme to both.

As was objection to the religious changes.

Aske used the Lincolnshire petition as a rebel manifesto for the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Men rose in Yorkshire moved by content of Lincolnshire petition.

Perhaps Suffolk's restrained response encouraged the men in Yorkshire to rebel.

Both rebellions had a mixture of a common body and gentlemen. What do these rebellions reveal about the feelings of the nation towards Henry's government? The variety of demands in the 24 Articles (presented to Norfolk on 6th December 1536) show that not all the rebels wanted the same thing.

There were some demands for reform of government, some concerns about taxation and others about religion.

This probably broadly represents the different feelings of the nation.

The fact that there were two rebellions (totaling some 70,000 men) suggests a concern in the country at large.

Henry, Cromwell etc were worried about the potential for other rebellions or influence from abroad e.g. Cardinal Pole.

However it could just be a northern problem.
Was it an aristocratic rebellion or a revolt of the commoners? Commoners and gentlemen were involved in both rebellions.

However, in the Lincolnshire Uprising the nobles were not such a key part of the revolt.

By contrast the dynamic leadership of nobles was a significant factor in the strength of the rebellion.

Aske was a Yorkshire gentleman and others, including Lord Danby, were involved.

The articles (in 24 articles) seeking reform show that "as well as commoners bent on negotiation, there were gentlemen bent on war." ML Bush. Why was the PofG a failure? The difference of opinion between the rebels created a difficulty of leadership.

Some, like Aske, wanted to negotiate while others were pushing for an overthrow of the government.

Because of these differences of opinion, not everyone could be satisfied, leading to a second rebellion in Cumberland breaking the agreement with Henry.

However others believe that the rebels were too naive and were manipulated by Henry who played for time until he could destroy them.

Henry had the leaders executed and stepped up the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538.

BUT - there were some successes with reform:

8 out of 14 articles on commonwealth complaint were dealt with.

The Council of the North was revived to hear complaints.

Some religious changes were droppped

The unusual taxes did not re-occur after 1537. Was it a complete failure though?
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