London and the Rebellions of 1548-1549

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<ul><li><p>London and the Rebellions of 1548-1549Author(s): B. L. BeerSource: Journal of British Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Nov., 1972), pp. 15-38Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The North American Conference on BritishStudiesStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/175326 .Accessed: 08/05/2014 21:27</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Cambridge University Press and The North American Conference on British Studies are collaborating withJSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of British Studies.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 169.229.32.137 on Thu, 8 May 2014 21:27:57 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=cuphttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=nacbshttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=nacbshttp://www.jstor.org/stable/175326?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>London and the Rebellions of 1548-1549 London and the Rebellions of 1548-1549 London and the Rebellions of 1548-1549 London and the Rebellions of 1548-1549 </p><p>During the years 1548 to 1549 England experienced the most serious rebellions since the end of the fifteenth century. Although the worst disturbances occurred in the West of England and Nor- folk, few areas of the country were wholly unaffected. In London the Mayor and Aldermen made elaborate military and security preparations to prevent revolt from within the City and to ward off possible attacks from the outside. City authorities succeeded in maintaining order, but in the political crisis that followed, Lon- don threw its support to members of the Privy Council who were disillusioned with the leadership of the Duke of Somerset and contributed, perhaps decisively, to the overthrow of the Protec- torate. </p><p>This paper examines events in London during these troubled years and attempts to assess its influence on national politics. Evi- dence of discontent in the City is studied to determine whether rebellious parties actually threatened law and order or whether City authorities merely took preventive measures in response to events elsewhere in the country. In addition the City's intensive preparations for defense are considered in detail. As the chronicler, Charles Wriothesley, recorded, beginning on July 3, 1549, "my Lord Mayor began to watch at night, riding about the City to peruse the constables with their watches, and to see that they keep the hours appointed at the last Court of Aldermen holden at the Guildhall, for the preservation and safeguard of the City because of the rebellions in divers places of this realm."' Finally, the paper studies the important negotiations between City authorities, the Privy Council, and Protector Somerset which led to his down- fall in October, 1549. </p><p>Early Tudor London was not the country's principal center of violence and discontent, for the problem of maintaining law and order was more acute in the countryside where the aristocracy and gentry had a long tradition of private warfare and open de- fiance of laws that infringed upon their liberty.2 Nonetheless the wealth and population of London, as well as its close proximity to the royal capital of Westminster, made its security a subject </p><p>During the years 1548 to 1549 England experienced the most serious rebellions since the end of the fifteenth century. Although the worst disturbances occurred in the West of England and Nor- folk, few areas of the country were wholly unaffected. In London the Mayor and Aldermen made elaborate military and security preparations to prevent revolt from within the City and to ward off possible attacks from the outside. City authorities succeeded in maintaining order, but in the political crisis that followed, Lon- don threw its support to members of the Privy Council who were disillusioned with the leadership of the Duke of Somerset and contributed, perhaps decisively, to the overthrow of the Protec- torate. </p><p>This paper examines events in London during these troubled years and attempts to assess its influence on national politics. Evi- dence of discontent in the City is studied to determine whether rebellious parties actually threatened law and order or whether City authorities merely took preventive measures in response to events elsewhere in the country. In addition the City's intensive preparations for defense are considered in detail. As the chronicler, Charles Wriothesley, recorded, beginning on July 3, 1549, "my Lord Mayor began to watch at night, riding about the City to peruse the constables with their watches, and to see that they keep the hours appointed at the last Court of Aldermen holden at the Guildhall, for the preservation and safeguard of the City because of the rebellions in divers places of this realm."' Finally, the paper studies the important negotiations between City authorities, the Privy Council, and Protector Somerset which led to his down- fall in October, 1549. </p><p>Early Tudor London was not the country's principal center of violence and discontent, for the problem of maintaining law and order was more acute in the countryside where the aristocracy and gentry had a long tradition of private warfare and open de- fiance of laws that infringed upon their liberty.2 Nonetheless the wealth and population of London, as well as its close proximity to the royal capital of Westminster, made its security a subject </p><p>During the years 1548 to 1549 England experienced the most serious rebellions since the end of the fifteenth century. Although the worst disturbances occurred in the West of England and Nor- folk, few areas of the country were wholly unaffected. In London the Mayor and Aldermen made elaborate military and security preparations to prevent revolt from within the City and to ward off possible attacks from the outside. City authorities succeeded in maintaining order, but in the political crisis that followed, Lon- don threw its support to members of the Privy Council who were disillusioned with the leadership of the Duke of Somerset and contributed, perhaps decisively, to the overthrow of the Protec- torate. </p><p>This paper examines events in London during these troubled years and attempts to assess its influence on national politics. Evi- dence of discontent in the City is studied to determine whether rebellious parties actually threatened law and order or whether City authorities merely took preventive measures in response to events elsewhere in the country. In addition the City's intensive preparations for defense are considered in detail. As the chronicler, Charles Wriothesley, recorded, beginning on July 3, 1549, "my Lord Mayor began to watch at night, riding about the City to peruse the constables with their watches, and to see that they keep the hours appointed at the last Court of Aldermen holden at the Guildhall, for the preservation and safeguard of the City because of the rebellions in divers places of this realm."' Finally, the paper studies the important negotiations between City authorities, the Privy Council, and Protector Somerset which led to his down- fall in October, 1549. </p><p>Early Tudor London was not the country's principal center of violence and discontent, for the problem of maintaining law and order was more acute in the countryside where the aristocracy and gentry had a long tradition of private warfare and open de- fiance of laws that infringed upon their liberty.2 Nonetheless the wealth and population of London, as well as its close proximity to the royal capital of Westminster, made its security a subject </p><p>During the years 1548 to 1549 England experienced the most serious rebellions since the end of the fifteenth century. Although the worst disturbances occurred in the West of England and Nor- folk, few areas of the country were wholly unaffected. In London the Mayor and Aldermen made elaborate military and security preparations to prevent revolt from within the City and to ward off possible attacks from the outside. City authorities succeeded in maintaining order, but in the political crisis that followed, Lon- don threw its support to members of the Privy Council who were disillusioned with the leadership of the Duke of Somerset and contributed, perhaps decisively, to the overthrow of the Protec- torate. </p><p>This paper examines events in London during these troubled years and attempts to assess its influence on national politics. Evi- dence of discontent in the City is studied to determine whether rebellious parties actually threatened law and order or whether City authorities merely took preventive measures in response to events elsewhere in the country. In addition the City's intensive preparations for defense are considered in detail. As the chronicler, Charles Wriothesley, recorded, beginning on July 3, 1549, "my Lord Mayor began to watch at night, riding about the City to peruse the constables with their watches, and to see that they keep the hours appointed at the last Court of Aldermen holden at the Guildhall, for the preservation and safeguard of the City because of the rebellions in divers places of this realm."' Finally, the paper studies the important negotiations between City authorities, the Privy Council, and Protector Somerset which led to his down- fall in October, 1549. </p><p>Early Tudor London was not the country's principal center of violence and discontent, for the problem of maintaining law and order was more acute in the countryside where the aristocracy and gentry had a long tradition of private warfare and open de- fiance of laws that infringed upon their liberty.2 Nonetheless the wealth and population of London, as well as its close proximity to the royal capital of Westminster, made its security a subject </p><p>1. Charles Wriothesley, A Chronicle of England [Camden Society, N. S. XX] (London, 1877), II, 15. </p><p>2. Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 1558-1641 (Oxford, 1965), pp. 199f. </p><p>1. Charles Wriothesley, A Chronicle of England [Camden Society, N. S. XX] (London, 1877), II, 15. </p><p>2. Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 1558-1641 (Oxford, 1965), pp. 199f. </p><p>1. Charles Wriothesley, A Chronicle of England [Camden Society, N. S. XX] (London, 1877), II, 15. </p><p>2. Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 1558-1641 (Oxford, 1965), pp. 199f. </p><p>1. Charles Wriothesley, A Chronicle of England [Camden Society, N. S. XX] (London, 1877), II, 15. </p><p>2. Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy, 1558-1641 (Oxford, 1965), pp. 199f. </p><p>This content downloaded from 169.229.32.137 on Thu, 8 May 2014 21:27:57 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>THE JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES THE JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES THE JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES THE JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES </p><p>of special concern to the Tudor monarchy. The politics of the City were determined largely by the self-interest of the ruling commercial oligarchy. In the fifteenth century the City had sup- ported the Yorkists, but after Bosworth it easily transferred its loyalty to the Tudors. During the Cornish rising of 1497, the Queen and Prince Henry took refuge in the Tower, and the City remained loyal to Henry VII. Londoners were more interested in protecting their legal and economic privileges than in assuming the risks of dynastic politics or championing the causes of pro- vincial rebels. These attitudes help explain the attack by 500 ap- prentices in 1493 on the Steelyard, the quarters of the unpopular Hanseatic merchants. The tumult continued until the Mayor ar- rived with armed troops, but the punishments were mild since the masters shared the prejudices of their servants.3 As Henry VII made his throne secure, his handling of the City became increas- ingly heavy-handed; and it was for this reason that Dr. Storey concluded that the King's death must have been welcomed in London because "royal inteirference in its government, amercements of its corporations, and harsh prosecution of individuals had re- ceritly become grievous burdens."4 </p><p>The Evil May Day riots of 1517 were the most striking exam- ple of discontent in London during the reign of Henry VIII. Griev- ances were directed against foreign merchants and artisans and as such were primarily economic although the privileges granted to foreigners represented Crown policy. Military forces led by the Earls of Shrewsbury and Surrey quickly restored order. Over 400 persons were arrested and fouteen executed including John Lin- coln, the principal agitator.5 The City aroused itself again in 1525 to resist Cardinal Wolsey's Amicable Grant, a tax on income not sanctioned by Parliament. The outcry was so loud that the King and Cardinal were forced to back down. Wolsey was greatly of- fended by the rebuke and is reported to have said that the whole of London were traitors to Henry. The City's opposition to Wol- sey sprang from its historic anticlericalism as well as from its dis- like of the Cardinals financial policies.6 Earlier, as a result of the Hunne case, London anticlericalism had assumed massive propor- tions, and after the fall of Wolsey, it was to assist the King and </p><p>3. J. D. Mackie, The Earlier Tudors, 1485-1558 (Oxford, 1966), p. 124. 4. R. L. Storey, The Reign of Henry VII (London, 1968), p. 213. 5. Mackie, Earlier Tudors, p. 298. 6. A. F. Pollard, Henry VIII (London, 1925), p. 166; Wolsey (London, </p><p>1929), p. 144. </p><p>of special concern to the Tudor monarchy. The politics of the City were determined largely by the self-interest of the ruling commercial oligarchy. In the fifteenth century the City had sup- ported the Yorkists, but after Bosworth it easily transferred its loyalty to the Tudors. During the Cornish rising of 1497, the Queen and Prince Henry took refuge in the Tower, and the City remained loyal to Henry VII. Londoners were more interested in protecting their legal and economic privileges than in assuming the risks of dynastic politics or championing the causes of pro- vincial rebels. These attitudes help explain the attack by 500 ap- prentices in 1493 on the Steelyard, the quarters of the unpopular Hanseatic merchants. The tumult continued until the Mayor ar- rived with armed troops, but the punishments were mild since the masters shared the prejudices of their servants.3 As Henry VII made his throne secure, his handling of the City became increas- ingly heavy-handed; and it was for this reason that Dr. Storey concluded that the King's death must...</p></li></ul>

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