Did the Dissolution of the Monasteries cause the Pilgrimage of Grace?.
Historians have long debated the nature of the motivating factors behind the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536. The traditional view was that the rebellion was a spontaneous, mass desire by the North to have the monasteries restored. However, this interpretation has been challenged, suggesting that the grievances were of a more secular nature. Nevertheless, historians have failed to come to any consensus about the character of the revolt. In this essay, it will be argued that fundamentally, the Pilgrimage of Grace was not concerned solely with the defence of the Catholic Church. .
The Pilgrimage of Grace can be read as a movement of social and economic protest against taxation, as well as, the effect the Dissolution of the Monasteries wrought on the northern society. It can be regarded as a popular movement; rebelling actively against the destruction of the monasteries, and the catholic faith, and its aims were to: uphold monasticism, as well as, attacking the royal supremacy and calling for Mary I to be legally recognised legitimately. In early modern minds, the term 'novelty', in reference to the Royal Supremacy, the Dissolution and new taxations had been regarded as heretical and illegitimate. Other controversies, such as rumours of dismemberment of patriarchal religion, such as the culling of parish churches, the confiscation of church goods, and the threatened taxation of baptism1, provoked resistance amongst the commons on a large scale. .
The motives of the rebels were mixed, but it can be argued that the fundamental common factor was religious. The Pope had excommunicated Henry as soon as he had proclaimed his supremacy, further to this any supporter of the excommunicated ruler, was also under excommunication. Consequently, the rebels revolted against Henry's supremacy in fear of Henry's religious policy, which would prevent them from going to heaven when they died.