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Henry VIII's Triumph in Yorkshire: A Story of Rebellion, Subjugation and Skulduggery

Updated: Oct 17, 2023


King Henry the VIII
King Henry the VIII

When it comes to Henry VIII's achievements, his conquest of Yorkshire remains a lesser-known tale. Unlike traditional battles, this victory was achieved through more clandestine methods: fear and impoverishment. For centuries, Yorkshire, had been thorns in the sides of English kings. Despite being smaller and less affluent than the South, Yorkshire's heritage of independence, rooted in its Scandinavian roots, produced a population of tough and hardy fighters. These men and women proved invaluable in defending against Scottish invaders and were a force to be reckoned with in times of conflict, often rallying under their own northern lords such as the Percys, the Nevilles, and the Scropes.


Henry VIII aimed to centralise government in London, establishing himself as the sole authority. He preferred to keep the powerful landholders close, mimicking the practices of a mafia boss. He surrounded himself with lesser men who relied solely on his favour for their wealth and status. The closure of monasteries presented an opportunity for him to build loyalty among ambitious individuals.


Map of the Ridings of Yorkshire
Map of the Ridings of Yorkshire

Step into the lesser known chapter of Henry VIII's reign, where the fate of Yorkshire hung in the balance. Fuelled by a combination of religious discontent and a sense of diminishing prestige in a court brimming with low-born Southerners like Cromwell, these noble figures sought to incite change and protect their way of life. Together with countless ordinary northern folk, they embarked on a peaceful protest march towards London, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace. While their intentions were peaceful, the sheer numbers involved posed a formidable threat to the king.


The Yorkshire lords and commoners, united in their cause, found themselves at Doncaster, the halfway point to their intended destination. There, they were met with persuasive words from the crown, coaxing them to disperse and return home. Little did they know that this marked the beginning of their downfall. In the months that followed, those who had participated in the pilgrimage, both nobles and commoners alike, were relentlessly hunted down. The punishment for their defiance was severe, with some members of ancient northern families meeting gruesome fates through hanging, drawing, and quartering.


The aftermath of the rebellion saw fines and burdensome taxes imposed, crippling the previously well-off citizens of Yorkshire. With their wealth drained, they remained humbled by poverty and faced with the harsh reality of their defeat.




Paul Rushworth-Brown Sponsors
Paul Rushworth-Brown Sponsors


Paul Rushworth-Brown is the author of three published novels.


Best selling author of the Skulduggery Trilogy,  Paul Rushworth-Brown
Best selling author of the Skulduggery Trilogy, Paul Rushworth-Brown

He was born in Maidstone, Kent, England in 1962. He spent time in a foster home in Manchester before emigrating to Canada with his mother in 1972. He spent his teenage years living and attending school in Toronto, Ontario, where he played professional soccer in the Canadian National Soccer League. In 1982, he emigrated to Australia to spend time with his father, Jimmy Brown who had moved there from Yorkshire in the mid-fifties.


​Paul was educated at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia. He became a writer in 2015 when he embarked on a six-month project to produce a written family history for his children, Rachael, Christopher and Hayley.

Best selling author of the Skulduggery Trilogy, Paul Rushworth-Brown
The first book in The Skulduggery Trilogy

Skulduggery - A family of copyholders, live each day in isolation from the village, but an attack on one of their own puts them all in grave danger. This story carefully navigates the backdrop of the English Reformation, populating it with likable and despicable characters, and casting them in a fully realised historical mystery setting. It's a slice of history that's totally, utterly believable, and unbelievable. The twists will surprise and the ending is totally unexpected even for the most astute of readers.

The second book in The Skulduggery Trilogy
The second book in The Skulduggery Trilogy

Red Winter Journey - England, 1642. When bloody civil war breaks out between the King and Parliament, families and communities are driven by different allegiances. Red Winter Journey is a sweeping tale of adventure and loss, sacrifice and love, with a unique and unforgettable story of a mother’s love for her son at its heart. A historic journey of twists, turns and a dash of spirited passion.




The third and final book in The Skulduggery Trilogy
The third and final book in The Skulduggery Trilogy

Dream of Courage- Reading this book can feel like time travel as you let the world pass byand explore a new one. The Rushworths are poor, hungry tenants of the Puritan Jasper Calamy, of Haworth manor, and scratch out a living tending a few sheep, spinning and weaving wool on put out from passing clothiers. Young Robert Rushworth and John Rushworth leave home and stumble across a way to make their fortune, in the Briggate in Leeds. Pursued by John Wilding, a brogger and brute of a man, with no manners or decorum, typical of the ‘lower sort’ of the time. Smythe, the local tavern keeper, has many secrets and with a hidden past, sends Robert to The Haven, to Captain Girlington of 'The Pearl'. Will Robert escape before it's too late? Will he hang? Will Robert and Ursula ever be together?















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