During the Pilgrimage of Grace for a short time Henry VIII lost control of the North of England and there was a very real possibly of civil war. Protesting against the king's betrayal of the 'old' religion, his new taxes, and his threat to the rights of landowners, the poor and the powerful united against their king and his henchman Thomas Cromwell, raising an army of 40,000. The leader of the Pilgrimage was the charismatic, heroic figure of Robert Aske, a lawyer. Under his influence and persuasion most of the Northern nobility joined the rebellion and gathered for battle at Doncaster where they would have outnumbered the king's soldiers by 4 to 1. But Aske had an unshakeable belief in justice and fair dealing, which was to prove his undoing. He was persuaded by the king's men to abandon military force and negotiate terms in London. Once there he was arrested, charged with treason and hanged in chains. Another 200 'pilgrims' were executed in the North as a 'fearful spectacle'. THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE is a sensational and tragic story set against a backdrop of medieval politics and religion.
Geoffrey Moorhouse is 'one of the best writers of our time' (Byron Rogers, The Times) and 'a writer whose gifts are beyond category' (Jan Morris, Independent on Sunday). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.