KS3 > The Reformation > Constituencies > Lincolnshire
During the Tudor period Lincolnshire was a very poor county. The land was largely marshy and had not been properly protected from flooding, and the towns were suffering from a decline in the wool trade.
In the 1530s, the changes to the church and the dissolution of the monasteries further threatened the economic situation of the people of Lincolnshire. Whilst many Protestant reformers argued that the church was corrupt, the monasteries and religious houses did provide schools, poor relief and hospitals for ordinary people. In 1536, the largest and most threatening rebellion of the Tudor period began in Lincolnshire: the Pilgrimage of Grace. In October rumours circulated around the county that the King not only wanted to close the monasteries but also wanted to confiscate parish churches’ funds and tax births, marriages and deaths.
|Drawing of the Pilgrimage of Grace|
On 2 October, a mob attacked a church official who had been sent to inspect some priests in Louth. The rising spread and some of the most important local people joined the rebellion or did nothing to oppose it, including the leading landowner in Lincolnshire, Lord Hussey. The Lincolnshire rebels also captured the son of Yorkshire lawyer, Robert Aske, and converted him to their cause. Aske later became the leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace in Yorkshire.
The rising in Lincolnshire soon collapsed, but partly through Aske it spread across the North, to places like Knaresborough, Yorkshire. In Lincolnshire Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, quickly put the rising down, and many of the elite asked for the King’s pardon. With no leaders, the common people’s rebellion was over. 34 rebels were hanged, and Baron Hussey was executed and lost his lands.
Ruin of Greyfriars tower, King's Lynn, Norfolk
This changed local politics in the area, as the Duke of Suffolk became the largest landowner and had more influence over the elections of MPs. For the ordinary people, little changed. The dissolution of the monasteries continued, and little was done to improve their economic circumstances. Under Elizabeth’s reign, her chief minister, William Cecil, held or controlled the parliamentary seat.