Economic Factors' Effects On The Pilgrimage Of Grace

1921 words - 8 pages

Sparked in Lincolnshire in October 1536 and expanding rapidly through
Yorkshire and the far north, the Pilgrimage of Grace was a popular rising that
presented a “major armed challenge to the Henrician Reformation” . The first
modern writers, Madeline Hope Dodds and Ruth Dodds, argued that it was an
association of interest groups with their own worries and priorities. Shortly after,
A. G. Dickens supported the Doddsian argument stating that he saw a
“fundamental divergence of interests and attitudes between gentry and
commons” . Then, C. S. L. Davies offered an alternative argument that
emphasised religion as the cause of the Pilgrimage. In addition, Sir Geoffrey
Elton argued that the Pilgrimage was the result of the “unexpected overthrow of
Anne Boleyn in the spring of 1536 and the consolidation of power at court and in
government by Thomas Cromwell”. Thus, historians have and will continue to
argue endlessly about the true causes of the Pilgrimage; on balance, a collection
of factors contributed rather than an overriding cause. As a result, it is fair to
say that the rising incorporated a mixture of political, religious, social and
economic issues. Therefore, economic factors were only partly to blame for the
Pilgrimage of Grace.
Firstly, politics was partly to blame for the Pilgrimage of Grace; hence, by
early 1527 King Henry VIII sought a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Though,
it is hard to pinpoint exactly why, the most plausible explanation is his belief
that “his marriage was barren because of its illegality” and Catherine’s failure to
produce a male heir. This is because Henry argued that it was blasphemous of
him to marry his brother’s widow and he needed a son in order to safeguard the
Tudor dynasty. Understandably, any hopes of the divorce being granted were
dashed because Henry was a Roman Catholic and the head of this church was
the Pope based in Rome. More importantly, the Roman Catholic faith believed
marriage was permanent; therefore, only widowers could remarry. Accordingly,
a change in strategy intended to “separate the English church from the larger
Catholic Church” in order to get the divorce without any right of appeal to the
Pope. In effect, thefoundations began with the Pardon of the Clergy in January
1531, carried on with the Submission of the Clergy in May 1532, and was
accomplished with the declaration of the royal supremacy in 1534. However, by
far the most important document was the Act in Restraint of Appeals ratified in
April 1533, which transferred the power of the Catholic Church to Henry and his
government. Therefore, it allowed the divorce to be granted legally by the
Archbishop of Cranmer. As a result, anger arose from this act of supremacy as it
asserted Henry as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Unquestionably,
people were disgusted with how he got rid of Catherine and the break with
Rome. Although, one can note that...

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