By 6th October 1536, Robert Aske of Aughton, was already recognised as the leader of the rebellion. By being a captain of the Lincolnshire rebellion he was already a marked man at the court of King Henry. The notable catholic families of the area mostly supported the cause but were wary of being seen as disloyal to the king. The Percy family of Wressle Castle were asked to join by Aske. The Constable family of Everingham were a notable catholic family who were split in support. Sir Marmaduke Constable of Everingham was the King's man and unlike his elder brother Sir Robert Constable of Flambrough stood close to Thomas, Lord Darcy and did not support the rebellion. The Dolman family of Pocklington were at the heart of Catholic insurrection for some 200 years (and they were related by marriage to so many of the Pilgrimage of Grace leaders), but as the Dolman family papers have not survived, little is known of their involvement.
Robert Aske and William Stapluton (the latter from Wighill) met on Market Weighton hill and convened part of the uprising. The pilgrimage was not actually a pilgrimage, of course, but a rebellion. It was also fairly disparate with different rebellions in different parts. The original uprising actually occurred in Louth. Stapluton went East to take Hull with the help of Beverley while Aske went to York. Aske took a while to get to York and it is likely he visited Nunburnholme Abbey and Warter Priory on the way. There is a suggestion that he may have dawdled in the hope that Stapluton's spare men would be sent after him once Hull had been taken. Poorly equipped with their fortifications neglected by the King, the rebels (commons) easily took over the cities.
12th October 1536
The rebels muster at Skipwith Moor. They meet up with the Stapulton Host marching behind the cross of Howden Minster, a treasure the rebels feared the government was to confiscate. It marched to Market Weighton on the evening of the 12th.
13th October 1536
A conference was held on Market Weighton hill (Arras) between the leaders of the two hosts. They were joined at the conference by Nicholas and Robert Rudston of Hayton, and Robert Hotham and Phillip Wardby. Their problem was that the city of Hull was not willing to join the rebellion. Stapluton decided to take half the force and to lay siege of the city, whilst Aske was to march on York.
Aske spent the night of the 13th October at Shiptonthorpe.
14th October 1536
Aske travels to Pocklington to muster troops and visit Warter and Nunburnholme priories which were both dissolved on the same day in August 1536, causing great local distress. The Vicar of Nunburnholme led a group of locals and reinstated the Prioress.
15th October 1536
Stapluton lays siege of Hull. Whilst Aske makes his way slowly to York, hoping for Stapulton to join him after taking Hull. Aske was joined by the woldsmen from the Watton/Gt. Driffield area. Aske holds an assembly on Kexby Moor. Aske was fearful that the government forces may destroy the bridges at Kexby and Sutton on Derwent, so he placed guards on them to protect them. However little local support for the government made this threat unlikely.
16th October 1536
Aske took the city of York without force, simply by writing to the mayor and asking if the rebels may pass through. On the 16th, a force of 4-5,000 troops came to York at 5pm. Aske was greeted on the steps of York Minster by Lancelot Collyns, treasurer of York, but too late to take possession of the King's treasure which was earlier moved to Tickhill Castle.
17th-18th October 1536
Aske waited for 2 days to hear of the fall of Hull, and to hear news of uprisings elsewhere in Lincolnshire, the Yorkshire Dales and Moors, and in Durham. Aske also declared his support for the suppressed religious houses by nailing a notice to the minster door. Meanwhile, Pontefract Castle was attacked by a supporter of Aske, Thomas Maunsell. Aske joined Maunsell on the 18th to march on Pontefract.
20th October 1536
Pontefract castle yielded to the rebels. A Council was held at the castle and included Sir Robert Constable, Arthur Darcy, Sir John Dawnye, Sir Robert Neville, Robert Chaloner and William Babthorpe. They issued their intent to march on London, but Aske refused the proclamation to be read before a petition to the king was composed. The was much internal disagreement about how to progress their grievances.
24th October 1536
Aske's host alone was said to comprise of more than 17,000 men.
Norfolk Insisted on only two representatives putting their case to the king in London rather than the whole force.
He traveled to London and met Henry VIII, and received promises of redress and safe passage. On the 27th October and the 6th December the government agreed to the compliance of the rebel demands. On his way back north, mixed messages were received by the rebel armies about the agreement, causing them to fight in pockets with government troops. This was seen as betrayal by Henry to the agreement of the truce. Aske was later arrested and was executed in July 1537.
Reference: The pilgrimage of grace: a study of the rebel armies of October 1536
By M. L. Bush
(Please Note this page is part of ongoing research by the History Group members and will be added to.)