The Pilgrimage of Grace

Pilgrimage of Grace

  • Created by: alys
  • Created on: 15-01-13 19:40

Lincolnshire Rising 1536

Rebels drew up list of grievances. Causes:
Offended by dissolution, fear of further dissolution affecting local people and worship.
1535-36: successive bad harvests. People were starving but seeing wealth removed from the area.
Properties under threat, rumous suggested the banning of eating white break, pigs and capons without a licence. High taxes and hatred of the Statute of Uses, 1536 (King's right to claim land on death of tenant) 

End of Lincolnshire Revolt:
Ended quickly on hearing the arrival of a royal army. Henry refused to negotiate with the rebels. 

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Lincolnshire Rising- Causes


  • The churches were rich and posesses very valuable treasures which were thought to be under threat of confiscation
  • A cutting down of feast days and traditional holidays
  • Increasing taxes, foreign wars, unpopular ministers, the break with rome and the split with Catherine of Aragon
  • Question of princess Mary's status 

These were part of the general unrest which caused the march.

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The Pilgrimage of Grace

October to December 1536, a more serious revolt occured in Yorkshire. Robert Aske led 30,000 men on a march. It was a popular uprising- a rising of ordinary people rather than the gentry and aristocracy.

It was Aske who declared it was a pilgrimage. He chose the banner of the Five Wounds of Christ as it's standard. The rebels swore a religious oath that contradicted the supremacy and they sang ballads in favour of monasteries. 

Why was it a serious threat?

- Largest uprising of the tudor period. The pilgrims were not disorganised and some were experienced fighters. Norfolk's army numbered just 8000. If the rebels had claches with the royal forces, they would have won.

York Manifesto, October 1536

Demanded the removal of evil councillors from the government, the restoration of the Old Faith and the protection of the Monsteries.

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  • Aske's York rebels also called for a free parliament in the North to discuss religious and political issues.
  • More support- Aske lead 30,000 men.
  • More support from the local Nobility such as Lord Darcy

Lord Darcy was a northern nobleman who was already in trouble from 1532 for questioning the supremacy. By 1534 he was corresponding with Chapuys, the Imperial Ambassador. He played an important role by surrendering Pontefract Castle to the rebels.

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Why did the rebellion fail?

  • Leaders put faith in Henry as they wanted to negotiate with him
  • Aske only wanted a show of force to get Henry to listen to his demands- successful.
  • Henry was playing the leaders. He knew his forces were weaker so agreed to demands.
  • By December 1536 an agreement was reached with the Duke of Norfolk and the rebels dispersed, convinced that their demands had been met (they hadn't)

Government action and concessions:

  • Free and general pardon for the pilgrims (seemed to be proving Henry's weakness)
  • Government stopped 1534 subsidy
  • Quelled parish property rumours- local churches were safe
  • Secured the promise of a parliament

Success? It seemed like a total victory for the rebels but any concession was temporary. Henry had no intention of backing down.

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The revolts of Westmorland and Cumberland, early 1537

Revolts unrelated to the pilgrimage but gave Henry the excuse to take back previous promises.

Norfolk declared marital law in Carlisle and 74 rebels were hanged.

Ringleaders were arrested- Thomas Percy, Lord Darcy and Lord Hussey were executed. Aske was convicted of high treason and hanged in chains on a special scaffold.

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Success of the Pilgrimage

It depends on the criteria but it is assumed that it was a failure- few of the rebel demands were met.

But the fact that such an army was raised and that Norfolk was forced to back down means that it was in part a success. In Doncaster there were 30,000 rebels and in Cumberland there were 15,000.
The rebels were also well-organised and their actions suggest advanced planning. The gentry were also important in instructing the commons to raise arms.

The key aim was to exert pressure to change behaviour. It was not intended to challege the royals on the battlefield. 

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LR- Why Autumn?

3 government commisions were put into place
- dissolving smaller monasteries
- assessing and collecting the subsidy
- enquire into fitness and education of the clergy

Atmosphere of rumour and alarm worked in.

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