On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1536, the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace halted at Scawsby Leys near Doncaster, where they met crown troops. The rebels were said to number around 30,000 and the crown's army was only a fifth of the size, but the rebel leader, lawyer Robert Aske, chose to negotiate rather than fight.
Why, when they could well have won?
Well one Tudor chronicler puts it down to rain. You can find out more about this meeting, how rain put a stop to the rebels' plans, and what happened next between the Pilgrimage of Grace rebels and Henry VIII, in today's talk.
Also on this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1529, Sir Thomas More took his oath as Lord Chancellor, replacing Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who was charged with praemunire. It was an important day for Sir Thomas More, who was described as "an upright and learned man", but, little did he know that his loyal service to the king would lead to his undoing. Find out more about this day in 1529 in last year’s video:
Also on this day in history:
- 1538 – Geoffrey Pole, brother of Cardinal Reginald Pole and son of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was interrogated in his prison at the Tower of London regarding letters he and his family had received from his brother, and words which he had uttered showing his support for the Cardinal, who had denounced the King and his policies in his treatise, Pro ecclesiasticae unitatis defensione.
- 1559 – Death of Sir Robert Southwell, lawyer and member of Parliament. It is thought that he was buried in Kent, probably near his seat of Mereworth. Southwell's offices included High Sheriff of Kent and Master of the Rolls. As High Sheriff of Kent in Mary I's reign, Southwell was active in putting down Wyatt's Rebellion of 1554.
On this day in Tudor history, 26th October 1536, the rebels of the Pilgrimage of Grace halted at Scawsby Leys near Doncaster. There, they met crown troops captained by Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk. The rebels were said to number around 30,000 and Norfolk’s army was only a fifth of the size, but the rebel leader, lawyer Robert Aske, chose to negotiate rather than fight.
A deal was eventually struck. Norfolk and others were able to report to the king on 28th October that “The lords and gentlemen who went from us yesterday to the commons at Pomfret have returned. They have declared your pardon and despatched them all to their houses.”
Chronicler Edward Hall recorded:
“Then, by the great wisdom and policy of the said captains, a communication was had, and a pardon of the kings Majesty obtained, for all the Captains and chief doers of this insurrection, and they promised that such things as they found themselves agreed with all they should gently be heard, and their reasonable petitions granted and that their articles should be presented to the kings Majesty, that by his highness authority, and wisdom of his Council, all things should be brought to good order and conclusion: and with this order every man quietly departed, and those which before were bent as hot as fire to fight, being letted thereof by God, went now peaceably to their houses, and were as cold as water.”
Charles Wriothesley wrote of how the rebels had planned to fight the king’s forces on the eve of the feast of St Simon and St Jude, 27th October, but “their fell such rain the night before they should have foughten, that they were so wet and their artillery that they could not draw their bows nor shoot”, so, instead “at the request of the Duke of Norfolk, they desired him to sue to the king for their pardon […]”.
Norfolk gave promises from Henry VIII that the rebels’ demands would be met and that they would be pardoned. Robert Aske then dismissed his troops. As I’ve mentioned in other talks on this rebellion, a royal proclamation was made to the rebels in early December 1536, offering them a pardon and saying that a parliament would be held at York. Unfortunately, Henry VIII later broke his promises to the rebels.