In the autumn of 1536 in Louth, Lincolnshire, an uprising did begin. There were commissioners working in Lincolnshire at that time, and the first of the lesser monasteries were being closed. Precisely what sparked it and why it began in Louth has never been absolutely clear, but it spread at the speed of the sound of church bells as they were rung in back rounds (ascending pitch, tenor to treble) across the county, and all of Lincolnshire rose up.
Within days, thousands had assembled at Lincoln Cathedral, and from there the common people issued five articles of grievance addressed to Henry VIII.
The noblemen organising the rebels, Hussey and Darcy in particular, were familiar with the workings of government in London and of those with the greatest influence who ran the country, and so the allegedly rude and common people of Lincolnshire were sufficiently well informed and could name people individually.
The Bishop of Lincoln’s registrar had arrived in Louth on 2 October 1536 to carry out a visitation. Led by Nicholas Melton, known as Captain Cobbler, the townsfolk seized him, and forced him, or at the very least succeeded in persuading him, to swear an oath of allegiance to their cause.
The registrar was fortunate, because when the rebels caught a hold of the Bishop’s Chancellor, Doctor Raynes, in Horncastle, they bludgeoned him to death. However, as mayhem engulfed the county, Lord Hussey left. Yorkshire was not yet ready to join the rebellion and things were not going entirely to plan; coordination with the Yorkshire rebels was lacking and no help had arrived from the Continent.
A response to the list of grievances arrived from London on 10 October 1536, and it was full of threats and insults. Lacking the support of their allies north of the Humber and expectations of backing from the Low Countries, the Lincolnshire Rising stalled. The men of the Horncastle multitude wound their way home and hung up their banner depicting the five wounds of Christ in the church.