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31st July 14
Trail : home / Subjects / History / Key Stage 5 / Year 13 / Henry VIII : Guy v Elton on the Pilgrimage of Grace

Guy v Elton on the Pilgrimage of Grace

Pilgramge of Grace




A popular rising of the Northern region

Similar to Elton: Religion – protect Catholic faith; anti – Cromwell; poor harvest; taxation (subsidy of 1534), dissolution of monasteries. Main grievance was religion as exemplified by the banner of the 5 wounds of Christ, the use of the word ‘Pilgrimage’.

Influence of supporters of the Princess Mary along with catholic lawyers against Cromwell’s admin. (DEBATABLE) but does link Aske, Darcy, Lord Hussey and others.

Court plotting? Darcy and Hussey in particular

Resented interference of central govt.

Resented statute of uses (1536)

Agrarian element-enclosures, higher rents

Religion- Dissolution of the monasteries = final straw to a religiously conservative north




Sees 3 revolts – Lincolnshire October

Yorkshire - Northern Counties – October – December

East Riding and North-West – Jan – Dec 1537

Little dispute about the sequence of events but he emphasises its importance and threat lay in the combination of social classes – nobility, gentry, clergy, people.


1 October – Lincolnshire rose. Demands of no more dissolution, Cromwell given up, heretical bishops dismissed

The loyalty of the rebels to the crown was not however in dispute.

19th October – dispute collapsed as Henry unwilling to listen to demands

Yorkshire rose however – led by Robert Aske (his motivation was religious). Captured York-gained support of Lord Darcy and Archbishop of York

Aske = 30,000 men. Suffolk = few

Duke of Norfolk met Aske at Doncaster – agreed to relay demands to Henry.

Story of double-dealing by Norfolk and Henry. Aske unable to take army south.

2 December: Aske gathered council at Pontefract and issued final demands: end to dissolution, repeal of the statute of uses, dismissal and punishment of Cromwell, restoration of papal jurisdiction and liberties of the church, and reformed Parliament free of royal interference.

Aske too honourable and trusting.

6 December pilgrimage ends on promise of meeting some demands as well as free pardons. Aske declared himself a loyal subject. Minor riots continued Jan/Feb 1537.Then on Norfolk reeks revenge in the king’s name throughout the north – around 200 including Darcy and Aske



No support from leading nobility – (emergency Privy Council) Norfolk, Suffolk, Exeter, Shrewsbury, Sussex, Oxford.

5 northern Earls – Cumberland, Northumberland, Derby, Westmorland and Shrewsbury remained loyal.

Elton very critical of the event; calls it a “futile, misdirected and ill-conceived venture”. Some sympathy and respect but much of the aims were selfish.

Always doomed to failure, as it never spread to the rest of the country. Fear of anarchy overrode all factions and even Norfolk proved implacable in his opposition to it. “Loyalty and obedience to the king, the guardian of peace and order and the symbol of the state, dominated everything”.

What were the results?

  • Further dissolution of the monasteries
  • Execution of a number of churchmen who supported the Pilgrimage
  • A strengthening of Cromwell’s policy