Robert Aske was a high-ranking soldier, lawyer, and landowner from Yorkshire who led 'the Pilgrimage of Grace,' a Roman Catholic uprising against the Protestant Reformation of the English Church following Henry VIII's divorce of Katherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn. In 1536 Thomas Cromwell established commissions to assess and collect taxes, dissolve the lesser monasteries, and investigate the clergy. The Pilgrimage of Grace aimed to restore the monasteries and nunneries that the crown had evacuated and plundered. Using the banner of the five wounds of Christ as their symbol, the pilgrims spread their rebellion across five northern counties and found sympathizers all over England. In October 1536, Aske traveled to London and met with Henry VIII, who promised him reparations. As Aske began his journey, fighting broke out again. Henry's men seized Aske and brought him to the Tower of London. He was condemned for high treason and hanged in York in July 1537.
Sean Bean worked as a welder before he decided to become an actor. He attended Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and appeared in a number of West End stage productions including the Royal Shakespeare Company's Fair Maid of the West (1986) and Romeo and Juliet (1987). While Bean is known to television viewers as soldier Richard Sharpe, he won worldwide recognition as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He recently appeared as Odysseus in Ridley Scott's Troy (2004) and is filming a thriller, Flightplan, with Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard in Los Angeles.