Monday, 30 June 2008

Remains of Aughton

Last week my mother and I called in at the East Yorkshire village of Aughton on the banks of the river Derwent. Here is the site of Aughton Manor, the home of Robert Aske the great Captain of the Pilgrimage of Grace. It was on his return to Aughton from London in 1535 that Robert Aske encountered the armies mustering during the Lincolnshire Rising in response to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. After the failure of this rebellion, Yorkshire, Northumberland and Westmorland rose to challenge Henry VIII over his policy of dissolution, and in this "Pilgrimage of Grace" Robert Aske became Captain of almost 50,000 men.
Today, not one stone of the Aske's former fortified Manor stands. I should be very happy if someone knew of the history of Aughton Manor after Tudor times. The photo above shows the present approach to Aughton church, itself posssibly the original causeway. On the right you can make out part of the original moat, and the bush-clad mound is all that now remains of the original motte.
There is a veiled memorial to the Pilgrimage carved on the church tower. In 1535 the tower fell down and was rebuilt in 1536 by Robert's brother Christopher. The inscription reads: "I, Christopher, should remember this year, 1536".

The view east from the church looks towards the river Derwent and beyond, towards York. All is peaceful now and somewhat remote from the great cause that was entered upon in 1536/37 by Robert Aske. After the failure of the Pilgrimage its leaders were executed by Henry VIII. Robert was the last to be executed; he was hung in in chains York in 1537. Perhaps the Manor was deserted by the rest of the family, perhaps it was sold off or dismantled being regarded as the house of a traitor. Reading about Robert Aske's part in the Pilgrimage of Grace leads me to think that he was a good man fighting for a very difficult cause in a noble way. After all, Thomas Percy, who lead the Northern Rising in 1569 and was executed in York in 1572, is named amongst the Blessed.

No comments: