The Pilgrimage of Grace, Yorkshire's great Tudor rebellion, re-enacted in Pocklington
THROUGH the historic marketplace they marched, brandishing their rebel banners in protest.
Turning back the clock turned back 500 years, Yorkshire's great Tudor rebellion returned to the historic streets of Pocklington.
Led through the town centre by Tudor musicians, schoolchildren retraced the steps of the Pilgrimage of Grace, a 16th-century rebellion.
The north of England had finally had enough of Henry VIII's social, religious and economic policies and, in October 1536, rebellion swept across East Yorkshire.
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"It's a good story of rebellion and treachery," says historian Phil Gilbank, of the Pilgrimage of Grace Heritage Project.
"What was unique about the Pilgrimage of Grace was every village and every town was part of the story.
"Rebellion swept rapidly across East Yorkshire and thousands of rebels came together on Market Weighton Hill on October 12, 1536.
"One group then besieged and captured Hull, the other moved on to take York, stopping over at Pocklington along the way."
Pupils from primary and secondary schools took part in yesterday's colourful event.
Harry Matthews, 11, was among pupils from St Mary's and St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary joining the march with their own banners.
He said: "This rebellion happened right on our doorstep.
"This re-enactment helps you imagine what it was like.
"We have been learning about the Tudors and I am really interested in what happened."
Sixth form history students from Pocklington's Woldgate College dressed up in period costume for the reenactment.
The pupils are studying an A-level unit on disorder and rebellion in Tudor England for their course.
Woldgate College's head of history, Geraldine Macdonald, said: "The Pilgrimage of Grace features significantly in it and through meetings with the organisers of the event, students have learned some really interesting things about our involvement in the rebellion.
"These details have really enhanced students' knowledge and understanding of the event and have added colour to an event that is extensively covered in the textbooks.
"All the students felt it would be really good to be involved in a community event and have participated very enthusiastically."
Pupils descended on All Saints Church in Pocklington for a Tudor history workshop based on the rebellion.
They learned that much of the north of England had risen up in arms, their ranks swelling to some 50,000, to line up against just 8,000 reluctant royal troops.
Rebel leaders Robert Aske, from Aughton, and Sir Robert Constable, of Holme-on-Spalding Moor, were both executed along with two monks from Warter Priory.
Though commentators at the time and since recognised the rebellion could well have toppled Henry from the throne, its significance was subsequently swept under the carpet by the authorities.
The rebels' badge of 1536, left, was worn by the 70 children who took part in Tuesday's reenactment.
Sir Robert Constable's original badge has been carefully preserved by the Constable-Maxwell family from Everingham.
More schools will take part in another re-enactment of the event on November 6.