Causes of Tudor Rebellions


What caused rebellions?

Religion can be said to be the only genuinely national factor in causing revolt. All the other causes were essentially regional in their nature. The aim was usually a reversal of government policies, changing apparent moves towards Protestantism. This can be seen in the P of G, Western and Northern Earls. (evidence for P of G= against dissolution, abolition of Holy days, resented doctrinal moves towards Protestantism. Western- Wanted restoration of images, objected to new 1549 Prayer Book, wanted a restoration of the 6 Articles. Northern- against new brand of militant Protestantism in Durham they took Durham Cathedral and said the Mass ) There were some rebellions that wanted change towards Protestantism- Wyatt’s secretly wanted to replace Mary with Elizabeth, Ket’s worried about the standard of teaching but was not Protestant in nature, as Duffy points out many of the rebels carried the Banner of the Five Wounds with them.
The majority of people went along with the religious changes out of deference whilst others demonstrated passive resistance (priests on the introduction of the 1549 Prayer Book.)
Clearly before 1529 religion was not a factor, the regime was Roman Catholic. After the break with Rome this changed and when peoples experience began to change after 1536 religion became a factor in causing rebellion. For 34 years in the middle period religion became a major factor in rebellion. After this time some Catholics took part in plots against Elizabeth, but there was no mass rising. Catholics were loyal to Elizabeth, realising that Protestantism was not as big a threat as they had feared and they put nation before religion. The proof of this being the support that Catholics demonstrated during the Armada crisis of 1587 and the Appellants of the 1590’s

During the 15th Century faction had been a major problem. During this time weak kingship and challenges to the succession saw a rapid turnover of rulers. Henry VII dealt with this problem by establishing strong rule. He was also lucky in that those around him who were potential opponents were too young to be real trouble. He was able to control the nobles through carrot and stick policies. Up to 1529 H VIII had few problems with faction due to the dominance of Wolsey. The problem of faction really came to the fore after Henry’s first divorce when the Aragonese and Boleyn faction developed. After the break with Rome the issue of religion became entangled with the struggle for power amongst the nobility. Faction was a major issue in the P of G as the Northern Earls wanted to remove Cranmer, Cromwell and Riche from positions of influence. It has even be suggested that the rebellion was deliberately provoked by the Earls in order to regain their traditional positions of power.
Faction was also a problem during the Mid Tudor period with faction causing some instability. The Protestants had been able to seize power at the end of Henry VIII’s reign and Somerset was able…


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