14 October 1536 – A proper rebellion

Oct14,2016 #Pilgrimage of Grace

By 14th October the uprising in the north had turned into a proper rebellion, one that came to be known as the Pilgrimage of Grace.

On 13th October, Lord Darcy had reported to Henry VIII that “most of the East Riding […] Marshland, Snathe, and others of the West Riding […] Dent, Sedbar, Richmondshire, Middleham, Wensladale, and Mashamshire” were “up” in rebellion “with the most part of the North Riding, and in effect all the commons of Yorkshire”, with the City of York favouring the rebels too. He went on to say that “the Lancashire commons are of the same mind as the others”. Although Richard Cromwell reported to Thomas Cromwell that he had heard that “the traitors about Lincoln are dispersed”, the trouble had spread to Yorkshire and Lancashire.

On 14th October William Haryngton, Mayor of York, and Sir George Lawson, wrote to the King asking for aid because “The commons of Beverley, Cottyngham, Holdenshire, Marcheland, Richmondshire, &c., some willingly and many by coercion, have rebelliously assembled to take York” and the city was “ill provided for defence”.

The rebellion was finally squashed at the end of October 1536, but reignited in Bigod’s Rebellion in January 1537, which was quickly put down. You can read more about the events of the rebellion in my Pilgrimage of Grace timeline – click here.

Notes and Sources

Photo: York City Walls © Copyright Lisa Jarvis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. geograph.org.uk/photo/589000.

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One thought on “14 October 1536 – A proper rebellion”
  1. The Tudor government really did get caught on the hoof with this one. How many? 30,000 to 50,000 people rising all over the north and midlands of England, taking over major cities and with the intent to march south. Even that many people marching peacefully would have raised the alarm. Armies of people are a nightmare to feed and what if the local towns or farms refusd to supply them with goods, even paid for goods? They would have taken it and caused local trouble. Lord Darcy was an experienced man. He knew trouble when he saw it and he was more inclined to talk to Aske and the others as fellow humans and countrymen. He maybe did not need to join them, but while he was negotiating with them they were not attacking. He wrote to Henry as did others that they needed support. I think the government in London as ever was far removed and had no idea of the reality of holding out against a determined group of people who are marching on your home and making demands. It was impossible to hold out with the number of men he had and help was not quick enough. The royal forces were no real match at this time and Henry had to negotiate in order to build up his forces. Reality check for the Henrican government, the first and most real test of his reign. This was not going to be easy.

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