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The Role of the Clergy in the Pilgrimage of Grace

David Callaghan

The Pilgrimage of Grace has been the subject of numerous studies over the past century, helped by a large source of surviving documents collected by the investigations in its aftermath. Since the Royal Supremacy had been formalised the clergy had suffered increases in taxation, restrictions of their powers and by the summer of 1536, the beginnings of the suppression of the monasteries. The motivating factors causing so many, from all levels of society to rise against the crown have been debated to no universally accepted conclusion. The clergy have usually been given an important role in the studies to date but have not been satisfactorily represented and this dissertation will look at the different roles that they played, both in promoting the cause and influencing the laity in the rebellion. By looking at both individuals and the different ways in which groups of seculars, monks and friars contributed, more can be understood about how their role in this rebellion reflected their place within the community having undergone a period of reform.