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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 458



took a leading part in the northern insurrection, in 1536, occasioned hy the suppression of the monasteries, a measure which, although in the end highly beneficial, M'as doubtless viewed and felt at the time as unjust and severely cruel : the monks were driven from their homes to, in most cases, beg their bread ; the poor were deprived of their accustomed dolo from the doors of the convents, and the patrons of the dissolved houses of the corrodies reserved to them by the charters of foundation ; whilst persons of every grade, both lay and clerical, were forced to change their tenets at the King's pleasure, or be burnt, hanged, or decapitated. The uprising commenced in Lincolnshire, under the guidance of Makerel, Prior of Barling, who assumed the name of Captain Cobbler, and it rapidly spread northward. Under the auspices of Lord Latimer and other nobles, and the nominal command of Robert Aske, an obscure gentleman, named for the occasion the Karl of Poverty, upwards of forty thousand of the inhabitants of Yorkshire, and other adjacent counties, assembled for what they were pleased to name the pilgrimage of grace. They bore white banners, on which were depicted the image of Christ crucified, and the chalice and host, the emblems of their belief. They were bound together by solemn oaths, and wherever they appeared, they replaced the ejected monks in the monasteries, and compelled the inhabitants to join the pilgrimage. So formidable did they at length become, that the Luke of Norfolk, although placed by the King at the head of a large army, found it more expedient to negotiate than to fight. An armistice was arranged, and Lord Latimer and others chosen by the pilgrims to lay their complaints before the King. Henry purposely delayed giving them an answer, in the hope that their own necessities would force them to disperse. When this artifice had in a great measure succeeded, ho ordered them to instantly lay down their arms, and authorized Norfolk to pardon all but ten persons, six named and four unnamed, an exception which induced the leaders of the pilgrimage to refuse the terms with scorn, and again fly to arms. Norfolk, still dreading to oppose with arms so powerful, so enthusiastic a force, again resorted to negotiation. A deputation of three hundred of the pilgrims met the royal commissioners, with proposals of an accommodation, at Doncaster. Amongst other reforms and changes, they demanded the restoration of the monasteries and the papal authority, the suppression of heretical hooks, the removal and punishment of heretical preachers, and the expulsion from the royal council of all base-born persons, especially Cromwell and Kieh. These demands gave such great umbrage to the King, that he published a manifesto against the rebels, in which he greatly marvels that such ignorant churls should talk of theological subjects to him, " who something had been noted to be learned in what the right faith should be ; or should complain of the laws which they knew no more about than a blind man did of colours, as if after twenty-eight years' experience, be did not know how to govern the realm ; or should oppose the suppression of the monasteries, as if it were wise to support the monks in their sloth and wickedness. Indeed," he added, " we, with our whole council, think it right strange that ye, who be but brutes and inexpert folk, do take upon you to appoint us who be meet or not for our council." However, as it was necessary to break up so formidable an assembly as peaceably as possible, Henry promised to redress such of the grievances as might seem to be well founded, and, being strenuously urged by Norfolk, granted a free pardon; which the insurgents, at the request of Lord Latimer, ucccpted, with the understanding that their grievances should be discussed in the parliament to be forthwith assembled at York. The general pardon was dated December the ninth, 1536, and as the King neglected to fulfil his promise, the pilgrims were within two months again under arms ; but this time Lord Latimer, probably deterred by the prudent counsel of Katherine, did not join them, and thus avoided the fate of Lord Darcy, Lord Hussey, Robert Aske, Sir Robert Constable, Sir John Bulmer, Sir Thomas


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