Pilgrimage of Grace

Published: 2021-09-29 20:25:05
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Category: Christianity, Allegory, Pilgrim

Type of paper: Essay

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DBQ Pilgrimage of Grace The Pilgrimage of Grace was to protest Henry VIII’s actions such as his Act of Supremacy. This lead to the implementation of new polices such as taxes, the expansion of the royal power in the North of England, the dissolution of monasteries, and the confiscation of Catholic Church lands. These actions took their toll on the country, and led to the Pilgrimage of Grace from October 1536 to February 1537. The Pilgrimage consisted of marches and protests and armed demonstrations. The re-creation of a banner of a marcher depicts God suffering, a plow and a cattle horn.
This symbolizes the motivation for the Pilgrimage of Grace. It can represent the peasants who are suffering just as Jesus did (3). Peasants, clergy and gentlemen were involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace. Each of these groups of people had a distinct part in the pilgrimage. Those who opposed the movement killed many of the rebels, as they feared the rebellion of authority. The participants of the Pilgrimage of Grace were concerned for their country and safety from enemies, and therefore, their goals were more representation, and a restoration of the Catholic organizations such as monasteries.
The peasants and clergy were the largest group in the Pilgrimage of Grace, and the most affected by Henry VIII’s actions. Due to the closure of the monasteries by the government, the peasants made a declaration that they must now rely on charity, faith, poverty, and that they must be ready to help one another should thieves or Scots try to rob them (2). This reason for protest contradicts other reasons such as the “Oath of Honorable Men”, which states that one should not enter the Pilgrimage for wordy gain, but for his love of God (1).



The Catholic clergy, who now could not practice their faith in England, had their land taken away and were heavily convicted by the government, as shown in the lyrics to a ballad a monk wrote, “…And held in bonds. Robbed, spoiled and shorn…” (4). The clergy and peasants were concerned for their future in northern England, and protested to get back the land and religion, which the government had taken from them. Gentlemen also were involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace.
Some who were members of Parliament did not like Thomas Cromwell’s influence on the King, which took power from the Parliament. In an anonymous pamphlet, Cromwell is called a traitor and that he should be removed from office to restore authority to Parliament (6). Robert Aske gives the goals of all those who participated in the Pilgrimage in his petition to the member of the King’s Council, which includes having the head of the church be the pope in Rome, to have Thomas Crowell punished, and to have the monasteries and church lands restored (5).
Throughout the Pilgrimage, there were riots in which both commoners and gentlemen were involved (8). Many of them were arrested and convicted. The closing of the monastery was a detriment to the country in the eyes of the gentlemen, as can be seen in Robert Aske’s testimony, in which he asks the king to return to the ways of the Catholic Church (11). Although many common people, clergy, and gentlemen supported the Pilgrimage, it was opposed by the creators of these laws, King Henry, and high ranking officials.
In Richard Madison’s “A Remedy for Sedition”, Madison argues that the inferior must be content that the wiser rule them, which is necessary in a commonwealth. If this order isn’t in place, then no one would obey and there would be chaos (7). Nicholas Leche criticizes the gentlemen who did not stand up against the opposition in his testimony (8). Henry VII himself gives a speech pardoning the commoners would have rebelled against him on the grounds of ignorance, so long as they immediately stop protesting and submit to his monarchy (9).
In the trials against those involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace, 67 percent of the gentlemen tried were convicted, and 62 percent of the peasants that were tried were convicted. In comparison, 80 percent of the clergy tried were convicted. This reflects heavy opposition against the clergy, who in the government’s eyes were the cause of the Pilgrimage. In spite of the efforts of the participants of the pilgrimage of Grace, none of their goals were met. England was not reconciled to the Catholic Church, nor did the monasteries reopen. Cromwell’s moves toward Protestantism were final.

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