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The Society of Rebellious Pilgrims

29th August 2018

In the last bulletin I made the gross error of stating that Queen Mary was a protestant by inclination. That was wrong she was devoutly Catholic and on the proof read I failed to notice the error, Sorry! At the time I was preoccupied by the preservation of music in the 16th century. The change to a protestant religion in theory meant that Catholic music particularly singing should actually disappear. However Henry VIII was passionately fond of Catholic singing and his two daughters Mary and later Elizabeth both somewhat secretly aided the preservation. Elizabeth was a protestant and I temporarily confused the two.

Other Heritage Activities
What started as a project to make better known the local importance of the Pilgrimage of Grace has led to a much wider range of historical activities. For example Grahame Hicks the project team manager has become deeply interested in Numburnholme Village history…. Where exactly was the priory? Was it a separate building? or Was it attached to the Ancient Parish Church? We have found a North Yorkshire example where a minor priory was simply an attached extension of the Parish Church. In addition we are beginning to believe that Numburnholme could well be the site of an even more fundamental incident in the history of England. A Note from Grahame Hicks “Those rebellious pilgrims that have enjoyed the 8 mile walk from Warter to Pocklington, or vice versa, will remember passing through the tranquil hamlet of Nunburnholme and perhaps taking a break at the church there. But that tranquillity hides an intriguing past. The nunnery was suppressed during the wider dissolution of the monasteries and since then its position has been something of a mystery. The position often claimed is doubted by Marmaduke Morris whose archaeological work in that area, in his own reports and in his own opinion, threw up insufficient evidence that the nunnery was there. A number of alternative sites have been inferred based on historic evidence within the village itself. For example, Morris reports that during the Victorian restoration of the church, a 16th century roof was found on the knave and the chancel roof was poor. During dissolution, the roof of a monastic building was removed to render it useless, but non monastic churches (parish churches) were not dissolved. They were, after all needed to continue Christian support for the community. Thus the church at Nunburnholme, it can be inferred was part of the nunnery estate; The chancel being the home of the "religious" being put out of use, while the nave was reroofed to allow the continuation of worship. Further evidence is that the chancel was enlarged in 1265. this was funded by Mary de Merlay and her husband Lord Greystoke. But why was the chancel enlarged? Most likely to allow the nuns to have their space in the church, whereas the original chancel would simply allow a canon from the monastery to deliver the Mass. It should be pointed out here that the nuns would have originated from Warter abbey, most likely being evicted at the end of the 12th century.
A relatively new discovery is the likelihood that the Battle of Brunnunburh was fought in and around the village in 937. This battle pitted the King of the Western Saxons, Athelstan, and his Mercian cousin against Olaf Guthfrithsson, the Viking King of Dublin, the King of the Scots Constantine and a number of lower ranking Kings. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle informs us that the Saxons and Mercians put the allied armies to flight killing many kings and high ranking statesmen. Following the battle, which gave Athelstan the Last Kingdom of Northumbria and united the English kingdoms under one king, Athelstan declared himself the King of the English; the first time that the concept of a single entity called England appears. So how does our hamlet figure in this? Well there is much corroborating evidence, too much to list here. But perhaps the final nails are that Nunburnholme was still referred to in legal documents as Brunnun as late as the 14th century, and the Roman fort at Hayton (only a mile or two south of Brunnun) which Ermine Street (now the A1079) as it approached York, would have made the burh. If you are looking for a battle site, the name is a good place to start!” To this end Grahame has been following a course in Medieval Latin at York University so that he can translate some very early documents. Another example of how the project has expanded. Many of you will know that Pocklington is site of substantial internationally significant Iron Age artefacts. We are determined to retain these artefacts within the town. To this end Phil Gilbank is becoming something of an authority on the Iron Age and is determined to find a place to have these on display for the public. We believe it will attract many visitors to the town. There is a petition currently on the go to meet this end. If you haven’t already signed it the link is below:
https://www.change.org/p/phil-gilbank-to-establish-a-heritage-facility-in-pocklington-to-store-the-burnby-lane-iron-age-archaeology-finds

We continue to be invited to talk to a variety of audiences. Phil is in constant demand on a number of subjects but as regards to the Pilgrimage of Grace then he has delivered a lecture in Stamford Bridge as have I. Grahame has spoken about the aforesaid battle, I have just received a further invitation from East Cottingwith precise topic to be decided. We are also searching for funds to insure that there is a sustainable project in the form of a published compendium of all our tested and tried walks. Best Wishes and Thanks from

The Project Team - Grahame Hicks, Phil Gilbank, John Brown, Joanne Hicks, Tony Corrigan, Kate Gilbank, Chris and Christine Spencer.

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