187. REBELLIONS IN LINCOLNSHIRE AND YORKSHIRE
A little before the death of Queen Anne, there was a parliament at Westminster, wherein were given to the king, by consent of the abbots, all such houses of religion as were under three hundred marks; which was a shrewd prognosticate of the ruin of greater houses, which indeed followed shortly after, as was and might easily be perceived before of many, who then said, that the low bushes and brambles were cut down before, but great oaks would follow after.
Although the proceeding of these things did not well like the minds of the pope's friends in England, yet, notwithstanding, they began again to take some breath of comfort, when they saw the aforesaid Queen Anne despatched. Nevertheless they were frustrated of their purpose (as is afore showed) and that double wise. For first, after they had their wills of Queen Anne, the Lord raised up another queen, not greatly for their purpose, with her son King Edward; and also for that the Lord Cromwell, the same time, began to grow in authority, who, like a mighty pillar set up in the church of Christ, was enough, alone, to confound and overthrow all the malignant devices of the adversaries, so long as God gave him in life here to continue; whose story hereafter followeth more at large.
Shortly after this aforesaid marriage of the king with this queen Jane Seymour above mentioned, in the month of June, during the continuation of the parliament, by the consent of the clergy holding then a solemn convocation in the church of St. Paul, a book was set forth containing certain articles of religion necessary to be taught to the people; wherein they treated specially but of three sacraments, baptism, penance, and the Lord's supper; where also divers other things were published concerning the alteration of certain points of religion, as that certain holidays were forbidden, and many abbeys began to be suppressed. For this cause the rude multitude of Lincolnshire, fearing the utter subversion of their old religion, wherein they had been so long nursled, did rise up in a great commotion, to the number well near of twenty thousand, having for their captain a monk, called Doctor Makerel, calling himself then Captain Cobler; but these rebels, being repressed by the king's power, and desiring pardon, soon brake up their assembly. For they, hearing of the royal army of the king coming against them, with his own person there present, and fearing what would follow of this, first the noblemen and gentlemen, which before favoured them, began to withdraw themselves, so that they were destitute of captains; and at last they, in writing, made certain petitions to the king, protesting that they never intended hurt towards his royal person. These petitions the king received, and made this answer again to them as followeth
The king's answer to the rebels in Lincolnshire.
"First, we begin to make answer to the fourth and sixth articles, because upon them dependeth much of the rest. Concerning choosing of councillors, I never have read, heard, or known, that princes, councillors, and prelates, should be appointed by rude and ignorant common people, nor that they were persons meet, or of ability, to discern and choose meet and sufficient councillors for a prince. How presumptuous then are ye, the rude commons of one shire, and that one the most base of the whole realm, and of the least experience, to find fault with your prince, for the electing of his councillors and prelates, and to take upon you, contrary to God's law and man's laws, to rule your princes, whom you are bound, by all law, to obey and serve with both your lives, lands, and goods, and for no worldly cause to withstand.
"As for the suppression of religious houses and monasteries, we will that ye and all our subjects should well know, that this is granted us by all the nobles spiritual and temporal of this realm, and by all the commons in the same, by act of parliament; and not set forth by any councillor or councillors upon their mere will and fantasy, as you full falsely would persuade our realm to believe.
"And where ye allege that the service of God is much diminished, the truth thereof is contrary; for there be no houses suppressed where God was well served, but where most vice, mischief, and abomination of living was used; and that doth well appear by their own confessions, subscribed with their own hands, in the time of their visitations, and yet we suffered a great many of them (more than we needed by the act) to stand; wherein if they amend not their living, we fear we have more to answer for, than the suppression of all the rest. And as for the hospitality for the relief of the poor, we wonder ye be not ashamed to affirm that they have been a great relief of poor people, when a great many, or the most part, have not past four or five religious persons in them, and divers but one, which spent the substance of the goods of their houses in nourishing of vice, and abominable living. Now what unkindness and unnaturality may we impute to you, and all our subjects that be of that mind, which had rather that such an unthrift sort of vicious persons should enjoy the possessions, profits, and emoluments, which grow of the said houses, to the maintenance of their unthrifty life, than we, your natural prince, sovereign lord, and king, which do and have spent more of our own in your defences, than six times they be worth?
"As touching the Act of Uses, we marvel what madness is in your brain, or upon what ground ye would take authority upon you, to cause us to break those laws and statutes, which, by all the noble knights and gentlemen of this realm, (whom the same chiefly toucheth,) have been granted and assented to, seeing in no manner of things it toucheth you, the base commons of our realm.
"Also, the grounds of all those uses were false, and never admitted by law, but usurped upon the prince, contrary to all equity and justice, as it hath been openly both disputed and declared by all the well learned men in the realm of England, in Westminster Hall: whereby ye may well perceive how mad and unreasonable your demands be, both in that, and in the rest; and how unmeet it is for us, and dishonourable, to grant or assent unto, and less meet and decent for you, in such a rebellious sort, to demand the same of your prince.
"As touching the Fifteenth which you demand of us to be released, think ye that we be so faint-hearted, that perforce ye of one shire (were ye a great many more) could compel us with your insurrections, and such rebellious demeanour, to remit the same? or think you that any man will or may take you to be true subjects, that first make and show a loving grant, and then perforce would compel your sovereign lord and king to release the same, the time of payment whereof is not yet come? Yea, and seeing the same will not countervail the tenth penny of the charges which we have, and daily do sustain, for your tuition and safeguard, make you sure that by your occasions of these ingratitudes, unnaturalness, and unkindness to us now administered, ye give us cause (which have always been as much dedicated to your wealth, as ever was king) not so much to set our study for the setting forward of the same, seeing how unkindly and untruly ye deal now with us, without any cause or occasion: and doubt ye not, though you have no grace nor naturalness in you to consider your duty of allegiance to your king and sovereign lord, the rest of our realm, we doubt not, hath; and we and they shall so look on this cause, that we trust it shall be to your confusion, if, according to your former letters, you submit not yourselves.
"As touching the first-fruits, we let you to wit, it is a thing granted us by act of parliament also, for the supportation of part of the great and excessive charges, which we support and bear for the maintenance of your wealths and other our subjects: and we have known also that ye our commons have much complained also in times past, that the most part of our goods, lands, and possessions of the realm, were in the spiritual men's hands; and yet, bearing us in hand that ye be as loving subjects to us as' may be, ye cannot find in your hearts that your prince and sovereign lord should have any part thereof, (and yet it is nothing prejudicial unto you our commons,) but do rebel and unlawfully rise against your prince, contrary to the duty of allegiance and God's commandment. Sirs! remember your follies and traitorous demeanours, and shame not your native country of England, nor offend any more so grievously your undoubted king and natural prince, which always hath showed himself most loving unto you; and remember your duty of allegiance, and that ye are bound to obey us your king, both by God's commandment and the law of nature.
"Wherefore we charge you eftsoons, upon the aforesaid bonds and pains, that you withdraw yourselves to your own houses every man, and no more to assemble contrary to our laws and your allegiances, and to cause the provokers of you to this mischief, to be delivered to our lieutenant's hands or ours,and you yourselves to submit you to such condign punishment as we and our nobles shall think you worthy of: for doubt you not else, that we and our nobles neither can nor will suffer this injury at your hands unrevenged, if ye give not to us place of sovereignty, and show yourselves as bounden and obedient subjects, and no more to intermeddle yourselves from henceforth with the weighty affairs of the realm, the direction whereof only appertaineth to us your king, and such noblemen and councillors as we list to elect and choose to have the ordering of the same.
"And thus we pray unto Almighty God, to give you grace to do your duties, to use yourselves towards us like true and faithful subjects, so as we may have cause to order you thereafter; and rather obediently to consent amongst you to deliver into the hands of our lieutenant a hundred persons, to be ordered according to their demerits, at our will and pleasure, than, by your obstinacy and wilfulness, to put yourselves, your wives, children, lands, goods, and chattels, besides the indignation of God, in the utter adventure of total destruction, and utter ruin, by force and violence of the sword."
After the Lincolnshire men had received this the king's answer aforesaid, made to their petitions, each mistrusting the other, who should be noted to be the greatest meddler, even very suddenly they began to shrink, and out of hand they were all divided, and every man at home in his own house in peace: but the captains of these rebels escaped not all clear, but were afterwards apprehended, and had as they deserved.
After this, immediately, within six days upon the same, followed a new insurrection. in Yorkshire for the same causes, through the instigation and lying tales of seditious persons, especially monks and priests; making them believe, that their silver chalices, crosses, jewels, and other ornaments, should be taken out of their churches; and that no man should be married, or eat any good meat in his house, but should give tribute there-for to the king: but their especial malice was against Cromwell and certain other counsellors.
The number of these rebels was nearly forty thousand, having for their badges the five wounds, with the sign of the sacrament, and "Jesus" written in the midst.
This their devilish rebellion they termed by the name of a Holy Pilgrimage; but they served a wrong and a naughty saint. They had also in the field their streamers and banners, whereupon was painted Christ hanging upon the cross on the one side, and a chalice, with a painted cake in it, on the other side, with other such ensigns of like hypocrisy and feigned sanctity, pretending thereby to fight for the faith and the right of holy church.
As soon as the king was certified of this new seditious insurrection, he sent with all speed against them, the duke of Norfolk, the duke of Suffolk, the marquis of Exeter, the earl of Shrewsbury, and others, with a great army, forthwith to encounter with the rebels.
These noble captains and councillors, thus well furnished with habiliment of war, approaching towards the rebels, and understanding both their number, and how they were full bent to battle, first with policy went about to essay and practise how to appease all without bloodshedding; but the northern men, stoutly and sturdily standing to their wicked cause and wretched enterprise, would in no case relent from their attempts: which when the nobles perceived, and saw no other way to pacify their furious minds, utterly set on mischief, they determined upon a battle. The place was appointed, the day assigned, and the hour set; but see the wondrous work of God's gracious providence! The night before the day of battle came, (as testifieth Edward Hall,) fell a small rain, nothing to speak of, but yet, as it were by a great miracle of God, the water which was but a very small ford, and that men in a manner, the day before, might have gone dry-shod over, suddenly rose of such a height, deepness, and breadth, that the like no man that there did inhabit could tell they ever saw before; so that that day, even when the hour of battle should come, it was impossible for the one army to come at the other.
After this, that the appointment made between both of the armies (being thus disappointed, as it is to be thought, only by God, who extended his great mercy, and had compassion on the great number of innocent persons that in that deadly slaughter had like to have been murdered) could take no place; then, by the great wisdom and policy of the said captains, a communication was had, and a pardon of the king's Majesty obtained for all the captains and chief doers of this insurrection; and they were promised that, for such things as they found them aggrieved withal, they should gently be heard, and their reasonable petitions granted; and that their articles should be presented to the king, that by his Highness's authority, and the wisdom of his council, all things should be brought to good order and conclusion: and with this order every man quietly departed, and those who before were bent as hot as fire to fight, being Jetted thereof by God, went now peaceably to their houses, and were as cold as water.
In the time of this ruffle in Yorkshire, and the king lying the same time at Windsor, there was a butcher dwelling within five miles of the said town of Windsor, who caused a priest to preach that all they that took part with the Yorkshire men, whom he called God's people, did fight in God's quarrel; for which both he and the priest were apprehended and executed.
Divers other priests also, with others about the same time, committing, in like sort, treason against the king, suffered the like execution. Such a business had the king then to rid the realm from the servitude of the Romish yokes.
But God's hand did still work withal, in upholding his gospel and trodden truth against all seditious stirs, commotions, rebellions, and whatsoever was to the contrary; as both by the stories before pass ed, and by such also as hereafter follow, may notoriously appear.
The next year after this, which was A.D. 1537, after the great execution had been done upon certain rebellious priests, and a few other laymen, with certain noble persons also and gentlemen, amongst whom were the Lord Darcy, the Lord Hussy, Sir Robert Constable, Sir Thomas Percy, Sir Francis Bygot, Sir Stephen Hamilton, Sir John Bulmer and his wife, William Lomeley, Nicholas Tempest, with the abbots of Jervaux and of Rivaulx, &c.