Pilgrimage of Grace- Background Cartmel

Cartmel Priory

The monks of Cartmel resisted Henry VIII's reformation, and joined the Pilgrimage of Grace - which led to their executions.  

The rebellion broke out in Yorkshire in 1536, and spread to Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland.  In October 1536, the Augustinian Canons of Cartmel, encouraged by local laymen, reoccupied their dissolved Priory, and reinstated the Prior against his will -he fled to the safety of Lord Derby as soon as he could.  The rebellion was put down with great severity.  Four Cartmel canons were tried at Lancaster Assizes, and executed (Augustine Fell, William Panell, Richard Bakhous and John Cowper), three escaped - and two were acquitted.  Ten local layment, described as 'husbandmen' were also executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in March 1537: their names were Robert Dawson, Peter Barwyk, Matthew Bateman, James Carter, John Blakhed, John Byglond, John Brokbank, William Crossefeld, William Byrkhed, and Gilbert Preston.    

The story is told in Madeleine & Ruth Dodds, The Pilgrimage of Grace 1536-1537, and the Exeter Conspiracy 1538 (1915).  An account of the trial can be found in John Eyre Winstanley Wallis, The Narrative of the Indictment of the Traitors of Whalley and Cartmell, (Chetham Miscellanies, 1931)


Photo and text by Bill Shannon