Insurrection: Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and the Pilgrimage of Grace by Susan Loughlin Book Review

Autumn 1536. Both Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn are dead. Henry VIII has married Jane Seymour, and still awaits his longed-for male heir. Disaffected conservatives in England may have seen an opportunity for a return to Rome and an end to religious experimentation. However, Thomas Cromwell has other ideas. In August, the Lutheran influenced Ten Articles of the Anglican Church was published and the dissolution of the monasteries had started. The obstinate monarch, enticed by monastic wealth, is determined not to change course. Fear and resentment has been unleashed in northern England in the largest, spontaneous uprising against a Tudor monarch. That rebellion is the Pilgrimage of Grace, in which 30,000 men have taken up arms against the king. This book reviews the evidence for that opposition and examines the abundant examples of religiously motivated dissent. It also highlights the rhetoric, reward and retribution used by the Crown to enforce its policy. – From Amazon

England had been in turmoil since the events of the King’s Great Matter and Anne Boleyn’s subsequent execution. Perhaps many believed that Henry would go back to the Catholic faith after her death, but nothing could be further from the truth. The dissolution of the monasteries continued. The Pilgrimage of Grace began in October 1536 and was a rebellion against Henry’s break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries, among other things. Robert Aske, though not initially involved, quickly became the leader of the rebellion. He was a well-connected man, even being related to Queen Jane Seymour. Susan Loughlin manages to outline a complicated situation, involving quite a few people, very well. It is estimated around 40,000 people were involved. The rebellion did not succeed in slowing Henry down and those involved were punished. Robert Aske was hanged in chains at York, others were beheaded or hanged, drawn and quartered. Around 216 people were executed.

Though I found the book interesting, I sometimes had a bit of trouble staying focused on the story. There are quite a few people involved and sometimes I had to go back a few pages to figure out who they were again. Other than that, I thought it was an amazing book, which covers such an important period of time. One can only wonder what would have happened if they had succeeded.

“Insurrection: Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and the Pilgrimage of Grace” by Susan Loughlin is available now in the UK and will be available in the US on 1 July 2016.

About Moniek Bloks 2732 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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