In the Shakespearean play Troilus and Cressida, there is a line which states, 'take away harmony and see what discord follows': this certainly was the principle that successive Tudor Monarchs adhered to. Any event that upset the Great Chain of Being and Theory of Obligation can indeed be classed as serious. However, all of the rebellions failed during this period, and so their seriousness is debatable.
PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE, 1536
- Rebels captured Pontefract Castle and Bodmin.
- There were 30,000 rebels.
- The Nobility were involved: they resented the position of Cromwell in Court.
- Followers of Catherine of Aragon supported the rebellion in hope to increase her influences.
- The rebellion was spontaneous, prompted by the clergy in Louth, giving Henry no time to prepare.
- Robert Aske was a strong leader and gave the rebellion a religious coating through the five wounds of Christ, which helped to amass support.
- The rebels were poorly armed, and so it can be argued that the rebellion was more of a demonstration than a battle.
- Aske did not act on his position of strength and accepted the pardon at River Don.
- There was no violence or battle, which would have increased the pressure placed on Henry.
- The rebellion was spontaneous, so there was no real planning.
- The councillors of the North, the Lords of Suffolk and Norfolk, remained loyal to the King.
- When the rebellion was resurrected in Carlisle the rebel leaders were summarily executed.
WESTERN REBELLION, 1549
- The government agent, William Body, was executed. He was sent to Cornwall to supervise the destruction of Catholic images.
- Over 3,000 rebels were killed at Sampford Courtenay.
- The rebels attacked Exeter and Bodmin.
- Three separate government forces had to be sent to defeat the rebels.
- Initially, Lord Russell was sent to crush the rebels. However, he was hampered by a shortage of troops due to attempts to maintain adequate forces on the Scottish border and to watch for any French aggression.
- Lacked strong leadership. E.G. Humphrey Arundell was a reluctant leader: he was forced by local priests to take the position.