Rebellions 1536-1569

Rebellions Tudor Government faced 

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Outline the main motives behind the Pilgrimage of Grace

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  • Religion : the dissolution of the smaller monasteries affected them directly, this was the main religious reason. The rebels wanted to return England to Rome. The fact that they wanted to remove Cromwell due to his Protestant beliefs supports this view.
  • Rumors: they feared that there would be an increase in taxation. Many of these rumors were spread by the clergy. 
  • Economic: taxation and entry fines 
  • Personal dislike of Cromwell 
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List some of the demands from the rebels in the P.O.G

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Pontefract Articles covered a series of complaints :

  • to put an end to the dissolution of the monasteries 
  • the reversal of the religious changes that had taken place 
  • the repeal of entry fines and a reduction in taxation 
  • Cromwell was to be punished 
  • to end the enclosure of land without consent 
  • restoration of Mary
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How far did the P.O.G cause a threat to the monarchy 

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  • Yes: the rebels managed to raise an army of 36,000 this outnumbers the kings forces 3 to 1. the geographical scale of its influence was also considered a crucial factor. Many members of the gentry took part in the uprising this was serious as these were the men who were supposed to enforce peace. They took over Pontefract Castle Quality of Leadership posed a threat, this gave the Yorkshire rebellion an advantage over the Lincoln as Robert Aske was an able lawyer. He provided the rebels with a clear sense of purpose.The POG was the largest rebellion ever seen in 16th century England.
  • No: Aske was no match for Henry VIII when it came to diplomacy and negotiation. The gentry and nobility of the north were far from united in the face of the challenges confronting them. The POG failed!- it achieved nothing. The rebels were not going against the King- they wanted negotiation rather than confrontation - Norfolk managed to convince the rebels that there demands would be presented to the King, this lead to them dispersing which worked in Henry's favour 
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Describe the Western Book Rebellion

  • the governments reaction
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Government reaction

  • saw these articles as ultra-conservative demands for a return to catholicism and the were rejected by Cranmer.
  • the denials of the Royal Supremacy were seen as a great threat to the stability of society and the state 
  • cranmer was enraged by such insubordination 
  • this enabled the government to accuse the rebels of being dangerous troublemakers and so distract attention from their attack on religious change. They found no difficulty in pouring scorn on the lack of doctrinal knowledge in the articles and there demands were dismissed
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What were the reasons behind Kett's Rebellion?

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  • the causes of the rebellion are symptomatic of the confused nature of lower order discontent with the economic changes. 
  • the rising was triggered off by unrest over enclosures, high rents and unsympathetic local landlords. East Anglia had a larger number of farmers were being adversely affected by the enclosing of fields
  • there were some religious elements elements to the causes but the main reason came from the economic changes due to enclosure
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Describe the Western Book Rebellion

  • the causes and demands
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causes and events:

  • directly linked with religion- popular discontent began in cornwall when the local archdeacon was disliked for his protestant views and introduction of religious reform were disliked. He was killed by a mob. In 1549 lower orders feared that the Act of Uniformity was going to be imposed on them- they rose in rebellion and set up armed camp at Bodmin, this was the central issue. Main leaders were local clergy and it was them who drew up the demands 
  • economic and social discontent played an important part - the rebels were complaining about enclosures and about the gentry. 

the demands:

  • to end the changes that they claimed were taking pace in baptism and confirmation 
  • to restore the Act of 6 Articles 
  • to restore the Latin Mass and images 
  • to restore old traditions
  • to restore the concept of transubstantiation and purgatory 
  • the return of cardinal pole from exile 
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Describe the events of Kett's Rebellion

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  • Flowerdew was a lawyer who had bought the Church property in the area, this made him unpopular 
  • he was in dispute with a local yeoman Robert Ket over land. Ket was a small landowner who had enclosed much of the common at Wymondham.
  • Flowerdew tried to turn the rioters against him but Ket turned the tables but offering to act as their spokesman. Ket showed more organisational skill and decisive leadership. 
  • He gathered an army of 16,000 men and set up camp for 6 weeks in Mousehold Heath and in July was able to capture Norwich.
  • rebellion is notable for the discipline that ket imposed
  • Rebellion was eventually crushed when Early of Warwick was sent to take command
  • warwick was able to bring the rebels to battle 
  • Ket was captured and eventually hanged for sedition. 
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Assess Kett's Rebellion 

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  • although enclosure has been cited as the primary cause, in truth it was just one among many agricultural demands. 
  • there had been relatively few enclosures in Norfolk during the previous 50 years.
  • the major cause of the popular unrest was the harsh economic situation in 1549.
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Describe the Lady Jane Grey Saga 1553

  • Northumberland's motives
  • the events which took place
  • the end result 
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  • Northumberland's power depended on the support of Edward V. 
  • Mary was to succeed if Edward died childless, her strong catholic sympathies made her unpopular with the reform party. To prevent a return to catholicism and to retain power Northumberland with the Kings support planned to change the succession, putting Lady Jane Grey next in line. 
  • To secure his own position he married his son to Jane in May 1553
  • Edward died before the plans for the seizure of power could be completed- this led to the failure of his plan
  • Lady Jane was proclaimed Queen by the Council in London while Mary was proclaimed Queen in Suffolk.
  • Northumberland's mistakes were: he failed to arrest Mary and keep her in custody, he underestimated the support for Mary in her country. 
  • He marched with an army of 2000 to Suffolk, but his troops deserted him. The privy council hastily changed side and proclaimed Mary as Queen.
  • Northumberland was arrested and executed.
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How far did the Lady Jane Grey Saga pose a threat to the monarchy's stability? 

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  • threat 

it threatened to overthrow the monarchy, and it got extremely close- Lady Jane was proclamied Queen. They were also in control of London. there was the fear of people supporting Jane because they feared a return to catholicism 

  • not a threat 

Northumberland failed to acknowledge the country's support towards Mary, the direct line of decent was still considered legitimate. The ease with which Mary upheld her right to the throne shows the growing stability of the nation. 

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When did Wyatt's Rebellion take place?

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During Mary's reign, 1554 

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What were Wyatt's motives for rebellion?

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Spanish marriage:

  • he had initially supported Mary, this support evaporated when he heard of the Spanish marriage.
  • Anti- spanish feelings led the rebellion 
  • they feared that the growing Spanish influence would endanger their own careers 
  • frustrated and desperate wyatt felt compelled to act in such a manner 


  • Wyatt was a protestant. 14 leaders of the rebellion were protestant
  • Kent is a protestant area 
  • the fact that many Protestant nobles didn't want to join as they felt they needed to earn the monarchs supports supports this view
  • one of the aims was to replace Mary with Elizabeth - the planned marriage between Edward courtney and Elizabeth 
  • the spanish marriage was associated with Catholicism 
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Why did Wyatt's Rebellion fail?

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  • the inept courtney disclosed the scheme to his patron Gardiner before the conspirators were ready to act. 
  • Wyatt succeeded in raising an army of 3000 men in Kent - the privy council raised forces quickly to protect London
  • Wyatt too his time in making it to the capital - he wasted a day capturing his enemy, he also wasted time agreeing to consider the queen's offer to discuss his grievances.
  • this allowed the government time to appeal to the citizens of the capital for support and to organise its troops 
  • when the main assault at London came the rebels were trapped and defeated at Ludgate.
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Assess Wyatt's rebellion 

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  • It came as close as any to overthrowing the monarchy
  • the proximity of Kent to the capital benefited the rebels
  • hesitation and delay however gave mary and the government time to prepare 
  • the rebellion failed- the forces were defeated at Ludgate 
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What were the motives behind the rebellion of the Northern earls in 1569

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  • Used to be seen as a religions rising - the rebel leaders had genuine religious concerns. Cecil was to be replaced with a pro-catholic sympathisers and the traditional friendship with Spain to be renewed. They wanted to replace Elizabeth with Mary Queen of Scots - Catholic. The second part involved the pro-catholic earls. they issued a proclamation stating that the reason for their rebellion was to resist the new found religion and heresy. Pro-catholic gentry and peasantry joined. 
  • however, rebellion mainly about politics and succession- the plotters hoped to coerce Elizabeth into nominating any children of the match as her successor or into marriage. Part of the arrangement was to be the elimination of Cecil. Northumberland and Westmorland,  resented offices being past over that they considered to be theirs by right this turned into anger. The rebellion was seen as a regional crisis in which dissatisfied the conservative northern gentry and nobility reluctantly rebelling out of fustration and anger 
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Asses the Rebellion of the Northern Earls 1569

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  • Rebellion failed due to poor leadership, it was inchorenet and aimless
  • there is less consensus on the causes of the rebellion
  • Neale saw the rebellion in terms of the failed Norfolk- MAry marriage. In his opinion one led directly to the other.
  • revisionist studies have tended to see the rebellion as a distinctly northern phenomenon
  • the defeat of the Northern Earls represented a turning point for the Elizabethan regime
  • the regime had survived the first test and would never seriously be challenged again. 
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