Wyatt’s Rebellion, 15 54
- Some of the rebels took part for religious reasons; they did not wish to see a Catholic restoration. This was identified as the main cause of the rebellion in the contemporary book, written by John Proctor in 15 54, entitled The Historie of Wyates Rebellion. This is supported by the historian, Fletcher who identified the leaders of each of the four regions that planned to rise as having Protestant sympathies, including the Duke of Suffolk. Indeed, Kent itself, the only place that actually revolted, was a religiously radical area. Significantly, no leader was Catholic. When the rebels reached London, they attacked the property of Stephen Gardiner, who had replaced the Protestant Ponet as Bishop of Winchester.
Causes: Social and Economic
- Kent, where the rebellion started, had been suffering a decline in the cloth industry over a long period, with rising unemployment since 15 51, and economic hardship tends to make people less tolerant of change and more likely to air their grievances (Rogerson, Ellsmore and Hudson).
· The rebellion, in the spring of 15 54, followed the announcement of Mary’s marriage treaty to Philip in January 15 54. The rebels, led by Sir Thomas Wyatt, did not want Mary to marry a foreigner. Wyatt probably feared the Government would be taken over by a foreigner, and that English interests would become subservient to those of Spain. Some of the younger gentry may have been concerned that Philip’s presence at court might adversely affect their career opportunities. If Wyatt had risen for religious reasons, this would limit his supporters to Catholics, whereas the English people were united in their xenophobia.
· There is evidence of more widespread xenophobia in a contemporary chronicle, The Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary, which noted that when the Spanish negotiators arrived in England to discuss the terms of the marriage treaty, ‘the people, nothing rejoicing, held down their heads sorrowfully’.
· This did not occur when Catherine of Aragon was to marry Prince Arthur, but the concern may have been heightened by the fact that the monarch was a woman, as there was no precedent for this, and it was anticipated that her husband would be king, and hence the queen’s interests would be subordinate to him.
· John Proctor’s book The Historie of Wyates Rebellion of 15 54 was commissioned by the Government, which thought that if religious…