Using your understanding of the historical context, assess how convincing the arguments in these three extracts in relation on the reasons for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace
Extract A is convincing to a certain extent in relation to arguing the reasons for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Its main argument is that the rebellion “at heart, the work of a political faction which utilised social, economic and religious grievances”. So, the extract argues the political aspect of the situation led to the cohesion of all the other factors, so the political aspect was the underlying reason for the Pilgrimage of Grace. This is contextually accurate to an extent, as in the Lincolnshire Pontefract in December 1536, it referred to legitimising Mary I and restoring the See of Rome authority (papal authority). Clearly showing there are some religious connotations in the some of the demands, but the underlying fact of these demands are about political issues and the national affairs. So, extract A is convincing to a certain extent as it is contextually accurate to deem political reasons were associated with the pilgrimage of grace.
Furthermore there is contextual evidence to support the Elton’s thoughts (historian of extract A) to say there was a “faction” as those who lead the Pilgrimage were not Northerners but in fact based London, named Darcy and Hussey and were in fact members of the court circle (Mary’s group) and to elaborate further on the political factional proposal from extract A it was clear from the concerns of certain religious policies that would point to simply a political faction. For example, many of the gentry class were concerned with the councillors’ religious policies such as Cranmer, Rich and Cromwell religious policies on divorce. This obviously points to a political faction as clearly these are councillors of the King which no commoner would no but the upper class i.e. the gentry class would only know about. So, this contextual knowledge supports the extract’s A argument that the reason for the outbreak of the pilgrimage of grace was due to a political faction igniting it and not the mass of the northerners.
Additionally, there is contextual evidence to support the fact that the political faction (aragonese the gentry class) were in fact utilising the socio-economic and religious grievances in order to threaten and attack the King. For instance, parish registers were added to the churches and it made the commoners fearful that there would be tax collectors and new taxation laws, this was especially manipulated by the gentry class as they could refer to 1525 of Henry’s amicable grant as that point henry disturbed the locality of taxation as he did not go through parliament to take tax from the gentry and nobility. So clearly the gentry political faction would be able to manipulate the commoners and insinuate the new taxation laws for marriages and burials within the church the commoners would have to pay for, so they utilised the current socio-economic situation to gain support to rally an attack against the king. So evidently extract’s A argument of the political faction utilising the socio-economic and religious situation to launch an outbreak and attack is supported accurately with contextual evidence, therefore, extract A is convincing in relation to the reasons for the outbreak of the pilgrimage of Grace to a certain extent.
However, it is not entirely convincing as Elton says, “linked not to feudal or popular uproar”. But this simply not convincing due to contextual evidence. As in 1536 Henry dissolved the smaller monasteries which caused huge uproar by the masses as the smaller monasteries affected the commonwealth as that is where the poor took refuge. Also, many people believed dissolving the monasteries thought it would threaten purgatory as the church was there to pay indulgences in order to spend less time in purgatory but also where they could pray, and Saints’ day was abolished so they could not honour the saints as part of their “good works” so again they spend less time in purgatory. In fact, a northern priest named William Copley during 1536 said “No Pope there can be no Bishop…no priest…no saved souls”. This therefore clearly shows contextually that the break from Rome was no causing problems for the commoners as their welfare was being neglected due to the dissolution of monasteries but also religiously the felt threatened due to threatening of purgatory as there was no longer a See of Rome authority in churches. So, this clearly shows that extract A is not entirely convincing as contextual evidence proves one of the major reasons for the outbreak od the pilgrimage of Grace was due to the discontent of the masses which caused a popular uproar which extract A completely disregards which decreases how convincing the extract is.
Furthermore, extract A is not convincing to say that the pilgrimage of Grace was “linked not to feudal” uproar as contextually this analysis can be proven wrong. As for example the oath of England was “to be true to God and the king, the commons and the commonwealth” thus clearly showing that the feudal system was linked to the outbreak of pilgrimage of Grace as the oath clearly states what is to be achieved by England and so the masses looked back on this oath to argue they had been neglected due to the dissolution of smaller monasteries as now the commonwealth could not be looked after and take refuge in the monasteries. Additionally, the sequence itself goes: God, Church, King, Commons. So this clearly would make the masses question why there are councillors as there is no mention of them in the sequence thus prompting many to be irked by the power Cromwell for instance had as he enforced the 10 articles in 1536 which entailed the 7 sacraments of Catholicism to be rejected so it would obviously cause mass upheaval as the masses would believe what right did councillors have meddling with religious policies if they are not mentioned in the sequence which they believe came from God. Therefore, extract is A is not entirely convincing as it fails to regard the feudal and popular uproar influences as reasons for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace.
Overall extract A is convincing only to a certain extent as it does make a fairly valid argument that a reason for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace was due to the political faction using the current situation to their advantage to revolt against Henry however the extract becomes less convincing due to its invalid comment about their being no popular uproar which is disproved contextually as the contextual evidence in fact shows how impactful popular uproar was for the outbreak of the pilgrimage of grace so extract A underplays the factor far too much, so it is only convincing to a certain extent.
Extract B is convincing to a certain extent in relations to the reasons for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Its main argument is that “nobles, gentry, clergy and people combined forces, because they shared an ideology”. This argument is pointing towards the main reason for the outbreak of the pilgrimage of Grace was that it was a huge popular uproar due to the fact all classes were discontent with the consequences of the Break with Rome. This was contextually evident through the 1536 Grievances and the 1536 Pontefract Article, for example in the 1536 Grievances written up by Aske a commoner and sent to the Mayor of York it says “We are grieved that there be diverse Bishops of England” meaning that the common northerners are angered by the fact there are now bishops going against the grain of the traditional catholic Bishop this grievance is fairly similar to the one of the demands in the Pontefract article drawn up primarily by the politically inclined; gentry class which says “the liberties of the Church to have their old customs” which again insinuates to restore traditional Catholicism. This shows both articles drawn up by different classes all share the same ideology to restore the papal authority and the traditions of Catholicism. Thus, clearly showing the argument made by extract B that the mutual mass uproar of classes against the religious policies made by Henry was one of the reasons of the outbreak of the pilgrimage of Grace is convincing due to contextual evidence.
Extract B is further convincing on basing the reasons for the outbreak on the pilgrimage of Grace upon “protestations of loyalty to the King and the established order.” This is due to the contextual evidence of the sequence and oath; the oath said, “to be true to God…King…the commonwealth” and the sequence which was God, Church, King and the commons. The oath makes no inference to councillors and neither does the sequence but also the sequence puts the Church above the King. So, this clearly would anger the northerners as Henry became Supreme leader of the Church (act of supremacy 1534) therefore going against the sequence which in that period was completely and utterly forbidden. Therefore, this clearly shows that protest of the established order was a reason for the revolt as it was going against the oath and sequence set forth by God as they believed. Thus, evidently showing us that a reason for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace was due to the uproar of the changing of the established order.
Overall Extract B is convincing to a certain extent as it does make valid comments of the uproar of the change of the established order being a reason and also the combined shared ideology of the classes infuriated with the religious policies made by Henry VIII which is all supported with contextual evidence which therefore substantiates the reasons making them more valid, so it is convincing to a certain extent.
Extract C is convincing to a certain extent in relations to the reasons for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace. Its main argument is that it was a “rising of the commons which the gentry, ultimately successfully worked to tame through the re-establishment of their authority.” This is contextually supported as for example, in Hull, whilst permitting people to leave the city to join the Pilgrimage, the numbers of the rebels from the commons only capitulated to 10,000-30,000 people once they were confronted by force by the gentry and lesser nobles such as Lord Darcy in York.
Furthermore, the gentry class were able to tame and manipulate the rising of the commons through spreading rumours. For instance, due to the dissolutions of smaller monasteries in 1536 the gentry spread rumours about Parish churches also being shut down such as in February 1537 there was a rumour circulating that there would be the taking down of churches in Buckingham. This was an excellent way of taming the rising and manipulating the commons as the Parish churches were even closer and more ordinary to the commoner and was used much more therefore a rumour about those churches being closed down caused huge upheaval. Thus, the gentry used that rumour in order to hone in on the commons and manipulate them to fight under the gentry and lesser nobles. So, the contextual evidence supports the claim of extract C that the gentry tamed the rising the of the commons to establish authority which contextually was the case as the gentry clearly did manipulate the commons in order to rally support to go against the King. So, extract C is convincing in relations to explain the reasons for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace.
Additionally, extract C is convincing in saying the rebellion was “stimulated by fears for religion in the Parish Churches”. This is due to the contextual evidence of the many religious policies invoked by the government. For example, in August 1536 Cromwell invoked the 1st Injunctions this ordered the clergy to abandon pilgrimages and give the money to educate the children of the Lord’s prayer and the 10 commandments and also in 1536 Cromwell invoked the 10 articles in which the 7 sacraments of Catholicism were rejected. This clearly shows that radical religious changes were being made as these changes were furthering away from the traditional papal authority and catholic tradition which clearly therefore unnerve the commoners as they have always followed the catholic traditions, so this obviously would make them fearful that these changes will be implemented in their local parish Church. So, the contextual evidence supports the comment that the one of the reasons for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace was due to the fact the commoners were fearful of religious radical change, therefore the comment is valid and so making extract C convincing.
Extract C is further convincing when it says, “the second revolt in the uplands was concerned with agrarian discontents.” This can be contextually supported as after the Black Death in the late fourteenth century, with fewer peasants to work the land, the acreage under the plough was significantly reduced. Sheep farming, which required far less labour was introduced, and land that had previously been cultivated was used for pasture. Wool proved to be immensely profitable, and so more landowners were eager to enclose common land for sheep running. This created a problem in the 16th century as the population began to recover the reduction in cultivated land led to pressure on food supplies. The poor especially were affected by this, who could previously scrape by with a small garden and rights of common to keep a pig and gather firewood, found they struggled to subsist without the common land. Sir Thomas More, in his Utopia, refers to the sheep eating up the people. These factors increased the pressure to raise rents, either to compensate for inflation, or to drive off tenants so that more land could be enclosed for the more profitable sheep farming. Therefore, this contextual supporting evidence shows socio-economic factors were a reason for the outbreak of the pilgrimage of Grace and the commoners livelihoods were being taken or they simply could live in the economic situation.
Overall extract C is convincing as the arguments put forth for the reasons for the outbreak of the pilgrimage of grace: socio-economic discontent, fear of religious change and the gentry being able to manipulate the commons for mass support are all supported heavily by contextual evidence thus clearly showing the impact of these factors thus making them more convincing reasons for the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace.