Pilgrimage of Grace, The
Pilgrimage of Grace, the In the time of Henry VIII, it is said that by the dissolution of the lesser monasteries about ten thousand persons became (rather from choice than necessity, for they had the option of being transferred to the larger houses) applicants for public bounty. These persons, traversing the kingdom, by the detail of their sufferings created extensive dissatisfaction, and popular feeling was with them. Many of the people also sympathized with the inmates of nunneries, some of whom they were taught to regard as ladies of gentle lives and kind deeds, whose monastic charities were necessarily suspended when their communities were dispersed. An attempt was made to suppress the growing disturbance by restoring thirty of the less disorderly of the suppressed houses. But the storm broke out first in Lincolnshire, and subsequently in Yorkshire, where forty thousand men marched with crucifixes and banners before them, calling their expedition the Pilgrimage of Grace, and avowing their object to be the removal of low-born counselors (Cromwell, the chancellor, was the son of a blacksmith at Putney), the suppression of heresy, and the restitution of the Church. These rebel forces, however, melted away without any action; and their leader Aske, upon a repetition of the outbreak, was beheaded for treason. Many of the abbots and friars were supposed to be implicated in the pilgrimage.