About Robert Aske, English Rebel
Robert Aske was a leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace, a name assumed by religious insurgents in the north of England, who opposed the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of King Henry VIII. The movement began in Lincolnshire in September of 1536, and the insurgents bore banners on which were depicted the five wounds of Christ.
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"ROBERT ASKE, English rebel, was a country gentleman who belonged to an ancient family long settled in Yorkshire, his mother being a daughter of John, Lord Clifford. When in 1536 the insurrection called the Pilgrimage of Grace broke out in Yorkshire, Aske was made leader; and marching with the banner of St. Cuthbert and with the badge of the "five askew wounds," he occupied York on the 16th of October and on the 20th captured Pontrefact Castle, with Lord Darcy and the Archbishop of York, who took the oath of the rebels. He caused the monks and nuns to be reinstated, and refused to allow the King's herald to read the royal proclamation, announcing his intention of marching to London to declare the grievances of the Commons to the sovereign himself, secure the expulsion of counsellors of low birth, and obtain restitution for the Church. The whole country was soon in the hands of the rebels, a military organization with posts from Newcastle to Hull was established, and Hull was provided with cannon. Subsequently Aske, followed by 30,000 or 40,000 men, proceeded towards Doncaster, where lay the Duke of Norfolk with the royal forces, which, inferior in numbers, would probably have been overwhelmed had not Aske persuaded his followers to accept the King's Pardon, and the promise of a parliament at York and to disband. Soon afterwards he received a letter from the King desiring him to come secretly to London to inform him of the causes of the rebellion. Aske went under the guarantee of a safe-conduct and was well persuaded of the King's good intentions, returned home on the 8th of January 1537, bringing with him promises of a visit from the King to Yorkshire, of the holding of a parliament at York, and of free elections.
Shortly afterwards he wrote to the King [Henry VIII] warning him of the still unquiet state not only of the north but of the midlands, and stating his fear that more bloodshed was impending. The same month he received the king's thanks for his action in pacifying Sir Francis Bigod's rising. But his position was now a difficult and a perilous one, and a few weeks later the attitude of the government towards him was suddenly changed. The new rising had given the court an excuse for breaking off the treaty and sending another army under Norfolk into Yorkshire. Possibly in these fresh circumstances Aske may have given cause for further suspicions of his loyalty, and in his last confession he acknowledged that communications to obtain aid had been opened with the imperial ambassador and were contemplated with Flanders. But it is more probable that the government had from the first treacherously affected to treat him with confidence to secure the secrets of the rebels and to effect his destruction. In March Norfolk congratulated Cromwell on the successful accomplishment of his task, having persuaded Aske to go to London on false assurances of security. He was arrested in April, tried before a commission at Westminster, and sentenced to death for high treason on the 17th of May; and on the 28th of June he was taken back to Yorkshire, being paraded in the towns and country through which he passed. He was hanged at York in July, expressing repentance for breaking the king's laws, but declaring that he had promise of pardon both from Cromwell and from Henry. It is related that his servant, Robert Wall, died of grief at the thought of his master's approaching execution.
Aske was a real leader, who gained the affection and confidence of his followers; and his sudden rise to greatness and his choice by the people point to abilities that have not been recorded."
Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed. Vol. II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910, pg. 762, http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/pilgrimagegrace.htm, http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2012/11/catholic-perspective-on-english_18.html, and http://www.channel4.com/programmes/henry-viii-the-mind-of-a-tyrant/articles/the-pilgrimage-of-grace-1536 - -------------------- Robert Aske (1500–1537) was an English lawyer who became the leader of rebellion in York. He led the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 and was executed by Henry VIII for treason on 12 July 1537.
"Aske was a real leader, who gained the affection and confidence of his followers; and his sudden rise to greatness and his choice by the people point to abilities that have not been recorded. "
Robert Aske, Pilgrimage leader, was born in 1500 in Yorkshire. He was the son of Sir Robert Aske. He was a country gentleman who belonged to an ancient family long settled in Yorkshire, his mother being a daughter of John, Lord Clifford.
He was a lawyer, and a Fellow at Gray's Inn. A devout man, he objected to Henry's religious reforms, particularly the Dissolution of the Monasteries. When rebellion broke out in York against Henry VIII, Aske was returning to Yorkshire from London. Not initially involved in the rebellion, he took up the cause of the locals and headed the Pilgrimage of Grace. By October 10 he had come to be regarded as their "chief captain". Most of Yorkshire, and parts of Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland and Westmorland were in revolt. On October 13, 1536, Aske treated with the royal delegates, including the Duke of Norfolk, and received an assurance of an audience and safe passage to the king. He travelled to London, met Henry VIII, and received promises of redress and safe passage. As he began his journey back north, fighting broke out again. This renewed fighting allowed Henry to change his mind, and he had Robert Aske seized and brought to the Tower of London. He was convicted of high treason in Westminster and was taken back to York, where he was hanged in chains in July 1537 on a special scaffold erected outside Clifford's Tower.
Robert died on 12 July 1537. He left no issue.
He was arrested in April, tried before a commission at Westminster, and sentenced to death for high treason on the 17th of May; and on the 28th of June he was taken back to Yorkshire, being paraded in the towns and country through which he passed. He was hanged at York in July, expressing repentance for breaking the king's laws, but declaring that he had promise of pardon both from Cromwell and from Henry. It is related that his servant, Robert Wall, died of grief at the thought of his master's approaching execution.