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Summary: After the broad chronological and thematic sweep of the preceding seminar, this one focuses in on a specific ‘moment’: the series of rebellions which swept much of the north of England in late 1536 and early 1537. A principal aim will be to assess critically the debates around the causes of the rebellions, and their potential seriousness. The format for this will most likely be a staged class debate between two teams (details to be announced in advance).

Seminar and essay questions:

a) ‘The Northern Risings of 1536-7 owed more to political conspiracy than to popular grievance.’ Did they?

b) Was the Pilgrimage of Grace bound to fail?


A. Fletcher, Tudor Rebellions, 3rd ed. 1983, chs 1, 2, 4, 9 - essential introduction for both questions (use Fletcher & D. MacCulloch, 6th ed. 2016, if possible)

P Marshall, Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (2017), pp. 244-53 (narrative account)

C S L Davies , ‘The Pilgrimage of Grace Reconsidered’, Past and Present, (1968), and in P Slack ed., Rebellion, Popular Protest and the Social Order (a)

---------------, ‘Popular Religion and the Pilgrimage of Grace’, in A Fletcher and J Stevenson eds., Order and Disorder in Early Modern England (a) p/c in Store

G R Elton, ‘Politics and the Pilgrimage of Grace’, in B Malament ed., After the Reformation, and in his Studies in Tudor and Stuart Politics and Government, vol. III (a), (b) p/c in SRC

-----------, Reform and Reformation, ch 11

R W Hoyle, The Pilgrimage of Grace and the Politics of the 1530s (2001) – best modern study

G W Bernard, The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church (2005), ch. 4

E H Shagan, Popular Politics and the English Reformation (2003), ch. 3

M L Bush, The Pilgrimage of Grace (1996) - esp. intro., conc.

-------------, ‘“Up the Commonweal”: the Significance of Tax Grievances in the English Rebellions of 1536’, English Historical Review, (1991) (a)

------------, ‘Captain Poverty and the Pilgrimage of Grace’, Historical Research, 65 (1992)

------------, ‘The Richmondshire Uprising of October 1536 and the Pilgrimage of Grace’, Northern History (1993)

------------, ‘The Pilgrimage of Grace and the Pilgrim Tradition of Holy War’, in C Morris and P Roberts (eds), Pilgrimage: The English Experience (2002)

-----------, The Pilgrim’s Complaint: A Study of Popular Thought in the Early Tudor North (2009)

------------ and D Bownes, The Defeat of the Pilgrimage of Grace (1999)

C Haigh, The Last Days of the Lancashire Monasteries and the Pilgrimage of Grace

S M Harrison, The Pilgrimage of Grace in the Lake Counties (a)

ME James, ‘Obedience and Dissent in Henrician England: the Lincolnshire Rebellion 1536’ in James, Society, Politics and Culture (b)

SJ Gunn, ‘Peers, Commons and Gentry in the Lincolnshire Revolt of 1536’, Past and Present (1989)

A G Dickens, ‘Secular and Religious Motivation in the Pilgrimage of Grace’, Studies in Church History IV (1967) , and in Dickens, Reformation Studies

D MacCulloch, Thomas Cromwell: A Life (2018), ch 16