The Pilgrimage of Grace
The Pilgrimage of Grace of late 1536 and early 1537 refers to the widespread revolt in England against Henry VIII. Henry VIII was breaking away from the Catholic Church and attempting to start his own church, which caused an uprising of Roman Catholics, especially in Northern England. The protests were a direct result of the dissolution of monasteries, a policy that confused and angered most of England. The Reformation legislation of Henry VIII was challenged by protesters who were trying to restore the Catholic ways in England. The goals of these protesters were to restore the monasteries, have the pope as the supreme head of the Church, get rid of Thomas Cromwell, and restore the tenant rights by an act of Parliament. The first of the uprising occurred in Lincolnshire in October 1536 and lasted for only two weeks. While it did not last long, it did threaten the king because it wasn’t just peasants and common people protesting, powerful nobles were also involved. Next was the uprising of Yorkshire and like Lincolnshire, the revolt consisted of mainly the common people, but also had nobles in its ranks. The only major difference was that they were led by a skilled leader, Robert Aske. With Aske as their leader, the rebellion spread quickly and he began calling their movement the Pilgrimage of Grace. Aske wanted the rebellion to maintain high standards and have a strong influence of faith, which is evident in the oath the marchers at York were required to take that states that those entering the Pilgrimage of Grace must do so only for the love of God and the Holy Catholic Church.
Aske believed Henry VIII to be a decent man, but a man who was corrupted and influenced by his advisors, particularly Thomas Cromwell. Aske wrote out a petition to the King to state the wants and needs of the rebels, which requested the pope to be the head of the Church as before, the monasteries’ houses and lands to be restored to them, and to...
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