Political Causes of rebellions

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  • Probably most important and recurring theme
  • Wide range of issues-desire to overthrow dynasty or change line of succession borne out of personal vengeance, ambition or principle
  • Wish to remove evil advisers-factional, self advancement, reaction to government centralisation which threatened to destroy traditional ways of life.

Dynastic Issues and the Succession

Henry VII

  • Despite winning Battle of Bosworth, throne far from secure
  • Seen as usurper by enemies-if he could do it so could they
  • Strong Yorkist threat-(he was a lancastrian)
  • Francis Viscount Lovel(former Lord Chamberlain)/Humphrey and Thomas Stafford(Yorkists) 1486- rasied troops to kill King as he progressed to North of England
  • Lambert Simnel 1487-Pretended to be claimant Earl of Warwick who was imprisoned in the Tower by Henry.Simnel's Yorkist supporters felt they would gain more by defeating Henry VII than serving him. Earl of Lincoln was politically ambitious and dissatisfied with his court preferences and role that Henry had assigned him. Despite being a royal councillor and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland-not enough for Yorkist claimant who Richard III had named as heir. Lovell and Margaret of Burgundy funded troops-die hard opponents of King. Earl of Kildare and 40 or so Irish nobles who backed Simnel-believed their interests would be best served by overthrowing the regime.
  • Perkin Warbeck 1490's-pretended to be Duke of York(princes in the tower). In early 1490's backed by France, Burgundy and Scotland.-By September 1497-all foreign support had evaporated

Henry VIII

  • no clear dynastic threat until P of G
  • Disinheritance of Mary alarmed some Northern nobles
  • wished Princess Mary to be legitimised and restored to the line of succession
  • also concerns that Henry might determine succession by will as opposed to by Parliament. If this was the case the title would 'incur to the Crown of Scotland' via his sister Margaret.

Edward and Mary

  • Ed-'devise' of May 1553 aimed to exclude Mary from succession
  • Duke of Northumberland led rebellion in favour of daughter in law Lady Jane Grey
  • Wyatt-feared Spanish marriage and probable exclusion of Elizabeth from throne. Didn't trust Philip to stick to limits on Spain's influence in England. Rebels claimed did not wish to harm Mary-safer


  • Northern Earls-wished the succession to be clear. Favoured Mary Queen of Scots as heir. Elizabeth was childless and refused to acknowledge Mary Stuart's claim. Rebels denied treason and named themselves the 'Queen's most true and lawful subjects'
  • Earl of Essex-denied wish to harm Queen but clearly wished to endear himself to heir presumptive, James VI of Scotland. Thought he may be rewarded as 'Kingmaker'


Evil Councillors

  • Cornish-1497, Reginald Bray and John Morton dubbed evil advisers
  • Amicable Grant 1525-protesters in Suffolk complained of Wolsey
  • P of G 1536-Targets were Cromwell, Cranmer, Audley and Rich
  • Wyatt 1554-'we seek no harm to the Queen but better counsel and councillors'
  • Northern Earls 1569-held William Cecil responsible for


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