The story of the trauma suffered by the Catholic Church during the so-called Reformation which was  a blatant Land Grab and Power Grab enforced against the will of the people in most cases, certainly in England.  It would not be complete without explaining what occurred during the Pilgrimage of Grace. The object was to persuade Henry VIII to relax his attack on the Catholic Church and to reverse his policy on the dissolution of the monasteries

It started in Lincolnshire in October 1536 but it was not well organised and lasted for only two weeks. It moved to Yorkshire where Robert Aske, a local lawyer, led the protest. The intention was to win through prayer and diplomacy if at all possible. With that in mind they has as their banner The Five Wounds of Christ.  Ask assembled a gathering of some 35,000 men some of whom had come from Lancashire, Durham and Northumberland. Lord Thomas Darcy was also sympathetic to the cause. The 35,000 men were well armed. At that time Henry could only raise an army of 8,000 so he pretended to appear to  cede to some of the Pilgrimage requests. At which Akse’s men, thinking that they had won their cause, returned to their normal occupations.   

Now Henry was in complete control. He had Aske and Darcy arrested and put on trial. Aske was found guilty of treason and was sent to York for execution. Darcy was executed in London.  

Given below are names of just a few of those who took part in the protest. There will almost certainly be families alive today who are related to these men who suffered for their faith:

Robert Aske, George ab Alba Rose, George Ashby, Ralph Barnes, Laurence Blonham, William Burraby, James Cockerell, William Coe, William Cowper, Thomas Darcy, John Eastgate, Richard Eastgate, John Francis, William Gylham, Richard Harrison, William Haydock, Nicholas Heath, John Henmarsh. Robert Hobbes, Henry Jenkinson, Thomas Kendal, Richard Laynton, Robert Leeche, Hugh Londale, Mathew Mackerel, James Mallet, Thomas Moyne, John Paslew, John Pickering, Thomas Redforth, William Swale, John Tenant, William Thyrsk, William Trafford and Richard Wade. 

This sad episode shows Henry’s complete determination to destroy the Catholic Church and the deceit he would use to ensure his victory.

Researched by Graeme Garvey and Michael Blackburn.