The Pilgrimage of Grace (1536) was a revolt sparked by Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries and transfer of Church property to the Crown. It began in Louth, Lincolnshire, and spread to Yorkshire, Cumberland, Lancaster and Westmoreland. On 2 October, angered by the state closure of nearby Louth Park Abbey, worshippers staged a spontaneous uprising against the state suppression of Catholicism, and the confiscation of Church treasures. With numbers swelling into thousands, the insurgents marched to Lincoln and occupied the cathedral. They were forced to disperse on 4 October and the ringleaders were later hanged at Tyburn. The Lincolnshire uprising generated a wave of further insurgencies, convulsing the north. The lawyer Robert Aske, leader of the Yorkshire insurgents, who entered and occupied York in 1536, coined the phrase: ‘Pilgrimage of Grace’ because he considered the protestors (in the region of 40,000) spiritual pilgrims. Further risings ensued in February1537 in Cumberland and Westmoreland and ended when Henry VIII’s forces crushed the insurgency; the rebel leaders, including Aske, were executed.
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