Aughton Church

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Robert Aske of Aughton

It was Robert Aske of Aughton who led the most serious rising of the Tudor age, brought about by a mixture of religious, political and economic factors. It was he who named the rising "The 'Pilgrimage of Grace".

It was a peaceful demonstration in protest against the closure of the monasteries and religious policies of Henry VIII. Within weeks, an estimated army of more than thirty thousand supported Robert Aske. Len Markhan, (Pocklington Post) tells us "But this was an army like no other. With monks in the vanguard bearing banners, painted with images of the Crucifixion and the Host, the 'pilgrims', as they were dubbed, toured every village, recruiting conscripts and restoring monks to their monasteries. Theirs was a message of peace and reconciliation with the Pope".

The king at this time did not have the troops to match the rising, which could have become a serious threat to the throne had not Robert Aske accepted pardon for himself and his followers and assurances that policies would be changed.

However, advantage was taken of a later rising, in which Robert Aske had no part, to secure his arrest. Robert Aske was tried and condemned at Westminster for high treason, despatched to York on a hurdle and hung in chains from Clifford's Tower in July 1537.

The older brothers of Robert Aske, John and Christopher, took no part in the rising. Christopher is said to have submitted written evidence against his brother, which may account for the Latin inscription on the Church Tower, as the tower’s rebuilding was paid for by Christopher. It has been translated by some experts as "Christopher, second son of Sir Robert ought not to forget the year 1536" The elder brother, John, was later granted the site of the suppressed priory at Ellerton in 1542