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The Pilgrimage of Grace how serious a threat to the crown was posed by the
Pilgrimage of Grace?
1. Were the risings that took place in Lincolnshire and Cumberland just part of the Pilgrimage of
The Pilgrimage of Grace refers to those events that took place in the north of England from October
to December 1536; it does not include the Lincolnshire rising of early October 1536, or the
Cumberland Rising of early 1537.
2. Why is it no surprise that the Pilgrimage of Grace took place in the north?
It is no surprise that the most serious rebellion in Henry's reign took place in the north; an area that
was largely conservative in its political and religious views.
3. Describe three causes of the Pilgrimage of Grace.
The dissolution was one of many reasons. There were also other socio-economic concerns of equal
importance. However, the removal of monasteries and monastery treasures was particular
significant in fuelling local hatred, anger resentment.
The Lincolnshire Rising, October 1536
4. Explain three causes of the Lincolnshire rising.
Religious concerns were closely intertwined with political and economic ones. Certainly there had
been successively bad harvests in the years 1535 and 1536, which always served to exacerbate
social tensions. Parish property and rights were perceived to be under threat and demands were
made for Cromwell's dismissal. The list of grievances drawn up by the rebels also cites high taxes and
hatred of the Statute of Uses, demonstrating that no one cause motivated the rebellion, although it
would be fair to say that its timing and impetus owe much to the dissolution of the monasteries and
religious change in general.
5. How difficult was it for Henry to put the Lincolnshire rising down?
The Lincolnshire rebellion ended as quickly as it had started, with the rebels dispersing on hearing of
the imminent arrival of a royal army under the command of the Duke of Suffolk. Henry was in no
mood to negotiate with the rebels and the Lincolnshire rising was over by 18th October.
The Pilgrimage of Grace, October December 1536
6. Who was Robert Aske and what evidence is there that the rising was a religious one?
Leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536, Aske visited London to discuss the rebel grievances with
Henry. In the end Aske was content to accept the King's assurances that revel grievances would be
addressed. By May 1537 after the failed Bigod Rising in Carlisle (which Aske had actually helped to
disperse) Aske was in prison in London. He was tried and found guilty of treason and executed.
7. What did the Pilgrims' manifesto call for?
The removal of evil councillors from Henry's government
The restoration of the Old Faith
The protection of the monasteries
8. Who was Lord Darcy and what was his attitude towards the Pilgrimage of Grace?
A northern nobleman with large landholdings who fell afoul of the Cromwell regime in 1532 for
questioning the Supremacy. By 1534 he was in treasonable correspondence with Chapuys, the
Imperial Ambassador. Darcy played an important role in the Pilgrimage of Grace in surrendering
Pontefract Castle to the rebels.
9. Why was the Pilgrimage of Grace a serious threat to Henry?
Firstly it was the largest numerical uprising of the Tudor period
Furthermore the pilgrims were far from being an unorganised rabble. Many had previous
experience of fighting the Scots. Had the rebels wished to engage the royal forces in battle
it is likely that they would have won.
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Why did the rebellion fail?
The rebellion failed because its leaders wanted to negotiated and subsequently put their faith in
Henry's word. Aske had intended for a show of force to bring Henry to the negotiating table and
make the King listen to his demands. In this aim Aske and the other rebel leaders were successful.
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How far can the Pilgrimage of Grace be considered a success for the rebels?
16. Describe three reasons that Bush gives to justify his view that the Pilgrimage of Grace should
not be regarded as a failure for the rebels.
Bush maintains that the very size of the pilgrim armies combined with the fact that Norfolk did agree
to meet their grievances means that we ought to view the rebellion as an enormous achievement on
the part of the rebels.…read more