Robert Kett

Leadership and tactics

  • Recorded by Nicholas Sotherton - member of group of families who governed Norwich = Kett's actions when confronted by rebels - agreed with the mob that he had enclosed land illegally and volunteered to destroy it himself
  • Promised to stay with the rebels until aims were achieved
  • Accepted leadership and persuaded 16,000 men to support him
  • Insisted on goof order within camp = peaceful
  • Any physical violence - result of provocation by govt.
  • Set up court of justice (Oak of Reformation)
  • Used writs and commission - cooperation with authorities


  • Lacked tactical awareness to deal with Warwick's army
  • Able to defeat Northampton - they underestimated rebels
  • Warwick cut off supplies
  • Order to move rebel camp - no protection
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Duke of Somerset's response

  • Relied on own friends and advisors e.g. William Paget  (govt.)
  • Lord Protector of Edward IV
  • Own policies created atmosphere for rebellion
  • Set up court where poor could seek justice

Negotiations with rebels

  • Letter between him and rebel camp = gave futher encouragement to rebel, sympathetic to complaints
  • New enclosure commissions reissued in 1549
  • Intention of moving Parliament forward from 4th Nov to 4th Oct = encouraged rebels
  • Made rebellion worse = mixed messages enouraging but trying to end rebellion
  • 1st pardon rejected, 1st attempt to deal with rebellion, Northampton failed
  • Violent end - mishandling of situation, encouraging rebels then tried to disperse force
  • Council resented Somerset's power and blamed him for serious social and political crisis
  • Arrested and removed him as Protector - replaced by Earl of Warwick
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Earl of Warwick - suppression

Initial failures

  • cautious - manor of Wymondham belonged to him, Kett on of his tenants
  • Army contained German mercenaries - month's pay for a days work
  • Prepared to negotiate - offered pardon to all but Kett
  • Rebels feared his intentions - young boy shot and killed

Able to defeat rebels by...

  • Ordered to open Norwich gates - rebels refused, opened fire on main gate
  • Able to overrun city, capturing and executing some rebels
  • Ordered men to take an oath to remain in city until rebels defeated
  • Rebels launched counter-attack, some of Warwick's ammunition captured
  • Arrival of additional Swiss mercenaries, decreased rebels' supplies
  • Attack on 27th - Battle of Dussindale - final pardon offer refused, men charged
  • Warwick lost 40 men
  • Kett taken to Newgate jail in London, paraded through streets, sent to Norfolk, hanged in chains from walls of Norwich Castle - convicted for treason
  • 9 rebels hung, drawn and quartered
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