Henry VIII and York – Yorkshire Philosophical Society

Wednesday 5th April at 7pm in the Tempest Anderson hall in the Yorkshire Museum

Professor Bill Sheils, Professor Emeritus in History, University of York

Tickets are free, although donations are welcome

General Public booking on Eventbrite:


YPS Members are requested to show their membership cards if asked to do so by the stewards.

Joint lecture with guests from Glasgow Royal Philosophical Society.


This year the Theatre Royal are putting on a community play based on CJ Sansom’s novel Sovereign, which is based on Henry VIII’s visit to York in 1541, part of what has been called ‘the most extravagant royal progress of his reign’. The king, accompanied by a retinue of over 4000, was received by the mayor and corporation, who offered money and gifts in part as penance for the city’s role in the rebellion, known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, which took place throughout the north  in response to the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. This has been identified by some historians and the most serious threat to the Tudor regime in the period and, following their surrender to royal forces, the rebels and the communities they came from were punished harshly. The 1541 progress was a very public show of royal power to a defeated people. The lecture will explore the background of the City’s relations with the Crown, and of its involvement in the religious upheavals of the 1530s. In doing so it will discuss the nature of relations between provincial governors and central authority in the period and provide a context for the royal visit for those intending to watch or participate in the Theatre Royal’s production, which will take part in King’s Manor, formerly the lodging of the Abbot of St Mary’s in the latter half of July.