Robert Aske

c.1501-1537. Leader of the “Pilgrimage of Grace.”* Lawyer and fellow of Gray's Inn, he came from an old Yorkshire family. The suppression of the monasteries and the rumors that further changes were imminent, together with dislike of the emerging Reformation doctrines and also dislike of new taxes, were the cause of discontent first in Lincolnshire in 1536. This was soon quelled by threats and promises from Henry VIII. The Lincolnshire rising, however, proved to be the spark to a much more serious uprising in Yorkshire, and Aske came south with 30,000 men. Henry broke up this formidable threat by promising to listen to their cause, and the pilgrimage disbanded. Aske came to London and stayed at court, receiving promises from the king that most grievances would be put right. Relying on Henry's word, Aske kept the north quiet, even assisting at putting down another riot in Yorkshire. The king, however, now felt strong enough to repudiate his promises and to have Aske hanged.