​The Pilgrimage of Grace

Chapter 7 : Setting Out Demands

Having been told by the King that their demands were "dark and obscure", Aske set to work with Lord Darcy to elucidate exactly what the Pilgrims wanted. He requested representatives of all of the Pilgrims to come to Pontefract where each request was weighed, discussed and approved by the various Captains in the Pilgrim army. Eventually a manifesto was agreed (Read it here).

Aske was keen to have the support of the Church and asked Archbishop Lee to preach, no doubt hoping for sanctification of the rebels' aims. Lee, however, did not perform as expected, instead announcing that only princes were permitted to wield the sword.

These demands were presented to Norfolk on 6 th December 1536. Having been given permission by the King to promise a Parliament, Norfolk was able to equivocate on the details, saying they would be dealt with by the new Parliament. He repeated the King's offer of pardon, and no further mention was made of handing over ringleaders.

Aske was satisfied, but many of the rebels were not. Despite their murmurings, however, the habit of long years of obedience to their lords prevailed, and the commons began to disperse on 8 th December. The gentlemen rushed to prostrate themselves in front of Norfolk, and Aske requested that he no longer be considered their captain. The badges of the Five Wounds of Christ that the Pilgrims had borne were ripped off, all declaring they would wear no badge but the King's.

Norfolk departed south and the North waited for him to return with the King's ratification of their demands. They waited, and they waited. Silence. In due course, Aske was summoned to pass Christmas at Court, where the King treated him like a long lost brother, lavishing charm and hospitality on him. He must have been dazzled, but Henry was only biding his time before pouncing.