Pilgrimage of Grace

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Pilgrimage of Grace

Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536, rising of Roman Catholics in N England. It was a protest against the government's abolition of papal supremacy (1534) and confiscation (1536) of the smaller monastic properties, intensified by grievances against inclosures and high rents and taxes. The Catholics protested their loyalty to Henry VIII, citing as their "great grudge" the position and influence of Thomas Cromwell. In Oct., 1536, several thousand men occupied the city of Lincoln, but dispersed after receiving a sharp rebuke from the king. Almost immediately, another rally occurred in Yorkshire. The movement, which rapidly gathered strength in N England, was led by Robert Aske, a Yorkshire lawyer. Aske and his followers occupied York and then moved on to Doncaster. Thomas Howard, 3d duke of Norfolk, promised from the king a general pardon and a Parliament to be held at York within a year. The men dispersed. Aske was well received by the king in London. In Jan., 1537, Sir Francis Bigod of Settrington, Yorkshire, led an uprising at Beverley. Although Aske and other leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace tried to prevent this new disorder, they were arrested, tried in London, and executed in June, 1537. The northern counties were placed under martial law, and many people were hanged on mere suspicion of disaffection. The repression in N England after the Pilgrimage of Grace put an end to open opposition to the government's religious policy.

See study by M. N. Dodds and R. Dodds (2 vol., 1915, repr. 1971).

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