Western rebellion in devon due to religious discontent

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The Events.

Also known as the prayer book rising . Already been discontent in Cornwall in 1547. William Body a known protestant sympathiser was attacked. In 1548 he returned to the area to oversee the destruction of religious images,he was murdered.

In 1549,many of the peasants in Cornwall rose against the act of uniformity. They set up camp at Bodmin .

In Devon on whit sunday in a village called Sampford Courtenay villagers revolted against the use of a new prayer book. They forced the local priest to say a traditional catholic mass.

By June 20 the rebels from Devon and Cornwall had joined forces at Crediton, where they were offered a pardon if they dispersed .

Negotiations failed and a rebel army of 6,000 besieged exeter .

Lord Russell was sent to put the rising down he was delayed to deal with other outbreaks of unrest in Oxfordshire.

When he arrived the rebel forces were destroyed leaving 4,000 dead.

Again the lack of a ruling family, this time the Courtnays resulted in the rebellions growth.

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The Demands.

Demands were drawn up by the clergy . (obviously shows religion would play an important role).

Religious Demands Include . Restoration of the six articles . This would undo all of the Kings reformation and so is a radical claim. They also apposed the new prayer book and communion in two kinds. The rebels wanted to have a mass in Latin and the restoration of old catholic traditions . A belief in transubstantiation and purgatory was also requested.

Political demands.

Article 12 shows a demand for the return of Pole to the Kings council. Although it could be due down to his religious conservatism, Pole had Yorkist connections and so suggests motives for the crown reverting to Yorkists.

This view is further supported by the fact the rebels demanded the release of Crispin and Moreman . Moreman had opposed Henry VIII divorcee , and Crispin was a chaplain to the Courtenay family . However they both had similar religious views to that of the rebels.

Social Demands.

Social tension were not wholly apparent in the demands however perhaps the fact that the clergy wrote them may have caused religion to take over. Anger to the new sheep tax was expressed however . Also articles 13 and 14 hint at tensions within west-country society e.g rebels wanted to limit the number of servants the gentry could employ . Called for the restoration of monastic land as Gentry benefit heavily from its selling off.

Link between religion and gentry . The gentry benefited the most from religious change e.g buying up monastic land . They also implement the religious change and so this could be why the rebels attacked . Lord russell himself said the time of good lordship had gone".

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Actions of the rebels .

Attacked Nobility at Bodmin, rebels shouted "kill the gentlemen".

In devon William Hellyons was killed .

City of exeter rallied against the rebels calling them "refuse scum" , and "rascals of the whole country"

Demands show more hostility to gentry as they wanted to limit the number of servants.

Also requested restoration of the monastic land that the gentry had benefited from .

As gentry inforce new religious changes the rebelion gave the rebels a way to attack both someresets religion and the gentry class who had benefited so much from it.

The leader of the royal army lord russell who had beaten the rebels leaving 4,000 dead even said the time of "good lordship was no more" .

This further shows desire for a return to the golden age.

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