How Seriously Did The Pilgrimage Of Grace Challenge Henry Viii's Power And Authority In England, 1536 39?

917 words - 4 pages

How seriously did the Pilgrimage of Grace Challenge Henry VIII’s power and authority in England, 1536-39?

The Pilgrimage of Grace was the rebellion of the commoners, led by the gentry against their fears for religion, their community life and their prosperity. It is questionable weather the rebellion occurred from below, among the commoners who were outraged by new taxes and the momentous changes upon the church. Or alternatively, from above, a revolt of the Nobility against the factions at court and Cromwell himself. It is also debated as to the causes of the sudden outburst of dissatisfaction, weather it was down to economic concerns; the recent taxation and new subsidy tax, or more ...view middle of the document...

The nobility with their influence would be able to push the commoners into working on their behalf, therefore lowering the severity of the threat to the kings’ authority.

Randell’s source highlights the fact that the rebellion had the potential to be a lot worse than it actually was. He emphasises the military strength of the rebels compared to that of the king and draws to our attention the potential of foreign invasion. In reality, however, the uprising never reached the point where military superiority really mattered, and Charles V had his attention focused on France, which eliminated the major threat from across the channel. The Pope was yet another threat to the King, he would surely support the rebels who were supporting the church in their demonstration against the King, with their religious policies and reluctant attitude to reform. Randell, however, recognises “the pope and the Emperor were to slow to recognise the size of the potential advantage to be gained from the situation.” Showing they did not do anything in this direction.

As Randell also states, “had the rebels ventured south, they would have been joined by a large number of discontents from the districts through which they travelled”, yet the rebels did not march south and did not therefore incur additional support which would have increased the threat to the King. Elton on the other hand accepts the facts of what did happen, “They had military superiority, but what use is that when no-one moved south and when any actual campaigning would have to start in mid- winter?” yet argues that the course wasn’t as serious as is made out. Elton...

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