Agrarian Discontent – Kett’s Rebellion

Hi Guys!

Hope your revision is going well. Exams are soon and your revision should begin soon! Here is a helpful resource to get you started! Kett’s Rebellion.

Best Wishes,

Sapph xx



June-November 1549

East Anglia – although there was wider outbreak across England.

Leadership Robert Kett, Norfolk Yeoman. Led Common rebellion.
Support 16, 000
Causes Enclosures (main cause)

Somerset’s commission – alienated the Gentry, Isolated himself &encouraged the commons.

Bad Local government – JPs allowing Gentry to abuse position and power.

Actions of Landlords – engrossing, rack-renting, foldcourse

Social & Economic problems – unemployment, inflation,

Religious causes – resentment against the dissolution of the monasteries; those in poverty were no longer able to access support.

Aims/Motives/ Demands 29 articles.

*         To stop enclosure

*         To improve social and economic problems.

*         To gain better government

*         To stop the corruption of local gentry

*         Concern over the education of the clergy.

Key Events/ Outcomes 10-12 July – Rebels camp at Mousehold heath

14-15 July – Other rebels form at Downham Market and Ipswich

21 July – government pardon offered in return for dispersal

22 July – rebels take over Norwich

30 July Royal Army led by William Parr arrives at Norwich and offers a pardon

31 July – Rebels overrun Norwich again

8 August – France declares war on England

23 August – Royal army arrives under Warwick

24 August Earl of Warwick enters Norwich

26 August – Arrival of additional 1000 Mercenaries; rebels supply lines cut; rebels move to Dussindale

27 August – Rebels defeated at Dussindale

7 December – Kett hanged.

Kett raises a large force (16,000 men), caims Norwich but the rebellion is crushed by Warwick. Kett and 300 rebels were executed (sign of how frightened the government were). Somerset falls from power.

Somerset’s mistakes/ Successes Mistakes

Slow government response.

Northampton’s response.

Sending mixed messages and encouragement to the Rebels


Warwick’s response

Rebel mistakes/successes Mistakes

Moving to Dussindale

Kett was not a military man


Remain peaceful

Threat to Somerset’s Government Threat

Well organized.

Largest rising

Weak government response

Rebels were powerful

Weak government because Edward was a minor.

No threat.

Wasn’t directed at the king.

Lacked gentry and noble support.


Did not coordinate with the Western Rebels


3.4 Lincolnshire Rising, Pilgrimage of Grace and Bigod’s Uprising.

Hey guys! It’s been a while. Exams are looming on the horizon and now is the time most people are starting to revise. So here are *not-so-detailed* notes on the Lincolnshire Rising, Pilgrimage of Grace and Bigod’s Uprising – all the rebellions covered in this chapter. 

Lincolnshire Rising

Date,Duration October 1536
Leadership Nicholas Melton, Shoe-Maker; Vicar of Louth Church.
Support Monks from Lincolnshire abbeys’,Lincolnshire parish clergy,Some Gentry members,3000-10,000 rebels.
Causes Rapid and radical changes imposed by Henry VIII/Cromwell (1535-36)Triggered by presence of Gov. Commissioners overseeing dissolution.
Aims/Motives Set of Demands using Language to make it clear they weren’t rebelling against Henry but blamed his “evil counsellors” who “misled” the king.Article complained about 1534 subsidy & inability of the Lincolnshire men to pay. Reflects why both Gentry, Landlords and commons joined.
Key Events/ Outcomes
  • 2-3 Oct. – Attack on Government commissioners at Louth.
  • 4 Oct. – Lincolnshire gentry took leadership of the rebellion, murder of Dr Raynes (bishop of Lincoln).
  • 8 Oct. – Lord Hussey flees Lincolnshire, rebels march to Lincoln.9 Oct. – Petition drawn up. Grievances over Dissolution, “evil counsel”.
  • 10 Oct. – Royal army under the Duke of Suffolk reaches Stamford; Beginning of rebellion in the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire.
  • 11 Oct. Lincolnshire commons persuaded to go home by the Suffolk’s representatives; North Riding of Yorkshire rises in revolt.
Henry’s Mistakes/Successes (m) Local Nobility (Hussey & Clinton) fled. Henry’s defence.

(s) Swiftly putting down rebellion.

(m) Lulled into false security after putting the rising down. Disbanded the royal army and sent Suffolk to deal with it himself.

Rebel mistakes/successes (m) Rebel organization – didn’t delay to wait for the Yorkshire rebels. (s) Rebel Organization – their level of organization posed a threat.(m) Gentry quick to back down when threatened with punishment.
Threat to Henry’s Government
  • Gentry became involved.
  • Gathered momentum quickly. Gained
  • Involvement of Clergy and monks – church helped Tudors keep control & reinforced ideas of obedience.
  • More serious had the rebels from Lincolnshire & Pilgrimage of Grace coordinated.
  • Organization of the rebels.



Pilgrimage of Grace

Date,Duration October 1536-Feb 1537
Leadership Landowners – Sir Robert Aske
Support 30,000 rebels.Well trained fighters from Military.  No local nobility tried to supress the rebellion.  Nobility
  • Religious Change – Fear of Dissolutions which provided local charity.Ø 
  • Fear of New taxes – Cromwell’s subsidy Act authorised the collection of £80, 000.Ø 
  • Hardships – Poor Harvest in the previous year. Enclosure. High rents.
  • Dissolution of the Monasteries. Religious reform. Rebels feared social and economic consequences.Ø 
  • Pontefract Articles revealed wider hardships faced such s enclosure and rack renting.Ø 
  • Clergy views were reflected in articles about attack on traditional privileges ie. Benefit of the clergy.Ø 
  • Majority of rebel complaints were religious.
Key Events/ Outcomes
  • 10 Oct. – rebellions begin in East Riding, Yorkshire.
  • 19 Oct. – Henry VIII disbands army gathered in Bedfordshire.Ø 
  • 21 Oct. – Rebels besiege Skipton Castle. Lord Darcy surrenders Pontefract Castle & joins rebels.Ø 
  • 23-24 Oct. – Norfolk and his army reach Newark-on-Trent. Negotiations begin.Ø 
  • 27 Oct. – Representatives present their petition.Ø 
  • 2-18 Nov. – Petition presented in London to King. Offered more negotiations.Ø 
  • 21 Nov. – Rebel council met at York to discuss offer.Ø 
  • 2-4 Dec. – Pontefract articles drawn up. 24 Articles.Ø 
  • 6 Dec. – Norfolk and rebels meet.Ø 
  • 8 Dec. – King’s pardon published. Rebels disperse.
Henry’s Mistakes/Successes (m) Henry’s resources were stretched thing because: Duke of Suffolk restoring order in Lincolnshire, sent 2nd army home.Ø  (m) Errors meant it took 3 weeks to prepare a strategy.
Rebel mistakes/successes  (s) Peaceful rebellion.

(m) Aske taking Henry’s word and disbanding rebels.

Threat to Henry’s Government
  • High.
  • 50, 000 rebels (across England incl. Lincolnshire).
  • Gentry’s involvement and organization.
  • Organization And obedience meant rebellion was harder to put down.
  • However,Risings were not co-ordinated or simultaneousØ  No intention to overthrow the king.
  • Bush – “Rising of the commons” – stressed manifestoes were issued with “Common consent”.
  • Debate about extent which it was genuine popular anger, or to which grievances of clergy were imposed. Bush = genuine anger.


Bigod’s Rising, 1537

Date,Duration January-February 1537
Leadership Sir Francis Bigod
Support Few hundred support
  • Local grievances over landholding.
  • Feared the Kinds pardon was to get the rebels to disperse.
Key Events
  1. Bigod planned to capture Scarborough and Hill.
  2. Bigod was captured in Cumberland in February
  3.  In Yorkshire, Westmorland and Cumberland commons feared gentry would turn on them. Rebels attacked Carlisle but put down
  •  Aske and Bigod were arrested, convicted of treason and hanged.
  •  50 Lincolnshire rebels and 130 Northern Rebels were executed.
  • Rebellion remained entirely northern with some sympathies in the south.
Henry’s Mistakes/Successes Secured loyalty and obedience through threat of punishment/arrest (Gentry turned on the Commons)
Rebel mistakes/successes Bigod’s uprising was a reason for Henry to punish those who had rebelled previously and re-establish loyalty from and power over the gentry/nobility.
Threat to Henry’s Government Very little threat. Whilst it had potential the swiftness of the suppression and the lack of support failed to prove as a significant threat.


Did the rebellion pose a threat to Henry’s government?


Not a threat

  • Support – Gained around 30, 000 support across North England. Support included Gentry, Nobility and members of the church.  
  • Resources – Henry didn’t have the resources to put down the rebellion.  Henry had 8000. Rebellion had 30,000.
  • Organization the organization of the rebels meant they were harder to put down. The speed of the rebellion also took the Crown by surprise.
  •  Weakness – Henry was unable to quickly put down the rebellion, lack of resources also meant it took longer to strategize.
  • Aims – Restoration of Monasteries possible threat to Henry’s power and demonstrated unpopularity.
  •  Loyal – Threat to Cromwell and Richard Rich, not Henry. “Loyal Rebellion”. Pontefract Articles support this. Rebels were trying to change his decisions.Ø  Elton: Not to overthrow the king.
  • Peaceful – Aske encouraged use of “pilgrimage” (spiritual) to convey this and negotiations in Doncaster.Regionalised – Only popular in the North and risings weren’t coordinated.
  • Organization – the incoordination between Lincoln and Grace meant Henry was able to deal with both effectively.