Protest in Tudor and Stuart times

The Early Modern Age was a time of continual riots and rebellions. The most prominent of these were:

The Pilgrimage of Grace (1536)

The Pilgrimage of Grace
The Pilgrimage of Grace

  • In 1536, rebellions took place in northern England asking Henry VIII not to dissolve the monasteries, which he had planned to do following the change in religion from Roman Catholic to Church of England. The rebels complained about 'low born' Thomas Cromwell, Henry's Chancellor, and stressed that they were the King's loyal subjects.
  • The trouble began with a march in Lincolnshire, called the Lincolnshire Rising, on 1 October. The crowds dispersed when the King's army arrived.
  • On 13 October 30,000 Yorkshire people rebelled. Led by Robert Aske, they went to York, and reopened the monasteries Henry had closed.
  • At first Henry negotiated with the rebels. However, in 1537 he sent a huge army north. Henry ordered the arrest of the leaders and about 200 people were executed for their part in the uprising.

After the death of Queen Mary in 1558, the Catholics of England were persecuted. They mounted a series of rebellions and plots:

The Northern Rebellion (1569)

  • In 1569, the Catholics of the north of England rebelled.
  • They were led by the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, and planned to depose Elizabeth and put Mary Queen of Scots onto the throne. They were supported by an army of about 4,500, many of them the earls' tenants and servants.
  • The rebels captured Durham, where they celebrated a Catholic Mass, and Barnard Castle. However, when the royal army arrived, they were easily defeated.
  • Northumberland and about 600 rebels were executed.
  • After the Northern Rebellion, the Catholics were not strong enough to attempt an open rebellion. There were several Catholic plots against Elizabeth I and James I. The most significant attempt to overthrow the monarch was the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 - a plan to blow up James I and the Parliament.