Assessment of the years 1547 to 1558

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  • Instabilitiy in England:
    • Social Instability
      • 1549 Prayer Book Rebellion
        • CAUSES:
          • Religious Factors
            • Nigel Heard - "Certainly only the Western Rebellion was directly linked with religion" -- The main leaders of the rebellion were local clergy and it was they who drew up the demands.The majority of the rebels demands were focused on the restoration of the Henrician CofE established by the Act of the Six Articles. Furthermore, like the rebels during the Pilgrimage of Grace, they marched under the banner of the 5 wounds of Christ.
            • Richard Fletcher agrees religion was the principal cause - "It was the announcement of the new liturgy in the prayer book...that turned opposition into full scale rebellion".
          • Social-Economic Factors
            • It could also be argued that the introduction of a new sheep tax only two weeks after the new prayer book added to the rebels growing grievances. The new tax in practice hit the peasant farmers as the wealthy were able to raise their prices to cover their costs.
          • Fletcher - "the rebellion never had a real chance of forcing the government to make concessions in its religious policy" -- there were 6,000 rebels/peasants against an army of 8,000 experienced soldiers and mercenaries. The rebels were defeated at the Battle of Stamford Courtenay, killing over 4,000 rebels.
          • Fletcher - ‘Its suppression was only so prolonged because the western rising coincided with (other)rebellions’. In comparison the Kett's rebellion, the Prayer Book rebellion posed a smaller threat.
          • HOWEVER -  Philip Caraman describes it as "The most formidable opposition to the Reformation that England ever saw". It showed that Catholicism was still strong in rural parts of England and it was the only rebellion in which the rebels demands were heavily foucsed on religion.
      • 1549 Kett's Rebellion
        • CAUSES:
          • Social-Economical
            • John Guy said "the 1549 revolts were the closest thing Tudor England saw to a class war". 
            •  In the Tudor period local land owners began to enclose common land and use it to graze their own sheep. This enclosure allowed landowners to create great wealth by selling wool, the life-blood of the economy in many areas of the country. By enclosing common land and using it to raise sheep, landowners became rich but at the same time peasants and yeomen farmers, who used common land for subsistence farming and raising animals, now found it difficult to surive, let alone thrive. 
          • Religious
            • 7 articles in Kett’s manifesto contain more protestant demands – that priests should preach and teach more, that priests live with aristocrats rather than with their flocks, and that they are grasping over tithes. They demanded that parishioners should choose new priests if their existing priest was not good enough. Norfolk had a tradition of Protestant radicalism- including Lollardy.
          • The sheer size - Robert Kett had 16,000 rebels at their disposal - a considerable amount more than the Prayer Book Rebellion. 
          • They had many successes - they seized Norfolk and defeated the Marquis of Northampton in battle.
          • Nofrolk is also closer to London


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