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Catriona Ashley Miller

How dangerous were the rebellions of
1549 for Edward VI's government?
How should we view protest and disorder in Tudor England?
Fabric of Tudor society = essentially very weak. Ruling authorities had no police force and no standing
army to repress rebellion if it broke out. Deep…

Page 2

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Catriona Ashley Miller

What happened in the Western rebellion and Kett's rebellion?
Events of the Western rebellion


Cornwall had own language and considered separate from Eng., largest town (Bodwin) only 1000
inhabitants, relied heavily on meagre profits made from tin mining. Poverty and vigorous sense of
regional identity triggered…

Page 3

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Catriona Ashley Miller

The descent into bloodshed

Loyalty to Crown led citizens of Exeter to defend city staunchly against rebel army for 6 weeks. LR
still stalled and 8th July made last attempt to reach settlement with rebels. 12th July reinforcements
under Grey delayed by another uprising in Oxfordshire. 28th…

Page 4

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Catriona Ashley Miller

Size/speed of movement paralysed county authorities. Norwich uneasily attempted to keep
peaceful relations with crowd on MH. Sheriff nearly arrested when attempted to disperse rebels and
rest of gentry powerless against well-estab force.

The Government's response to Kett's rebellion

First Government response

21st July York Herald offered…

Page 5

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Catriona Ashley Miller

K tried for treason and hanged 26th Nov. Northumberland resisted bloodthirsty impulses of Norfolk
gentry and ensured rebels dealt with according to letter of law. He appears to have dealt leniently
with them: only clear evidence of 49 executions (MacCulloch).

What caused the rebellions?
Causes of the…

Page 6

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Catriona Ashley Miller

May 1548 Royal deer park at Hampton Court disparked (fences erected to enclose land were

1st June 1548 Commission of enquiry estab under John Hales to investigate extent to which
existing legislation on enclosure was being enforced in Midlands.

June 1548 Proclamation issued against men being…

Page 7

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Catriona Ashley Miller

gentry involvement in rebellion - led by those just outside governing classes, who may have been
ambitious for power themselves.

Religion and the clergy

Articles relating to religion are thoughtful calls for more competent/involved clergy, rather than
controversial doctrinal statements. There was clearly concern with poor quality…

Page 8

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Catriona Ashley Miller

What can we learn about how dangerous Kett's rebellion was by examining it from the
rebels' perspective?


Tradit beliefs/practices/customs affected every aspect of KR. Began on tradit festive day - feast to
celebrate Saint Thomas Beckett's relics. Unrest often began on special days because crowds

Page 9

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Catriona Ashley Miller

to try to negotiate/reach compromise. Govt would intervene and take rebels and demands seriously.
Failing this and offer of royal pardon, troops were raised. Even when army arrived, would initially
offer pardon to all but ringleaders. Most 1549 uprisings ended by return of senior court figures to…

Page 10

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Catriona Ashley Miller

rebellions had important consequences - most important was fall of S, who was associated
with outbreak/poor handling of rebellions
not as dangerous as could have been because of absence of gentry/aristocratic involvement
authorities in 16th century saw mass protest as irrational/frightening event


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