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Discuss the influence of economic factors on the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Economic factors significantly influenced the Pilgrimage of Grace, particularly through the impacts of taxation, enclosure and the dissolution of monasteries.

The Pilgrimage of Grace, which took place in 1536-37, was a popular uprising in Northern England against Henry VIII's break with the Roman Catholic Church and the subsequent religious changes. However, it was not just religious factors that sparked this rebellion; economic issues played a crucial role too.

One of the key economic factors was the issue of taxation. Henry VIII's government had imposed heavy taxes on the populace to fund wars against France and Scotland. This was deeply unpopular, particularly among the poorer sections of society who were disproportionately affected. The resentment towards these taxes was a significant factor in fuelling the discontent that led to the Pilgrimage of Grace.

Another major economic factor was the policy of enclosure. This was a process by which common land, previously available for all to use, was fenced off and made private property. This had a profound impact on the rural poor, who relied on this land for their subsistence. The loss of access to common land led to increased poverty and hardship, which in turn contributed to the anger and resentment that sparked the Pilgrimage of Grace.

The dissolution of the monasteries also had significant economic implications. Monasteries were not just places of worship; they were also major landowners and employers. Their dissolution led to job losses and economic instability in many local communities. Furthermore, the monasteries played a crucial role in providing charity and support to the poor. Their closure removed an important source of assistance for the most vulnerable in society, adding to the economic hardship and discontent.

In conclusion, while the Pilgrimage of Grace is often viewed primarily as a religious protest, it was also significantly influenced by economic factors. The impacts of taxation, enclosure and the dissolution of the monasteries all contributed to the economic hardship and discontent that fuelled this rebellion. Therefore, any analysis of the Pilgrimage of Grace must take into account these economic influences alongside the more commonly recognised religious factors.

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