Explain why the rebellion known as Kett’s rebellion broke out


The rebellion known as Kett’s rebellion broke out predominantly for economic and religious reasons. However, there are several political reasons for the outbreak.

The most significant reason was economic struggles at the time. While religion became increasingly important to the rebels, it was economic issues which first sparked the rebellion. There were rumours that the government were going to introduce new taxes in a time of inflation and poor harvest. There were also not enough jobs adding to the harsh economic conditions. Enclosures were becoming increasingly common particularly in the east of England during this period. Protector Somerset and his civil servant John Halls believed that the economic and agricultural problems of the time were caused by greedy landlords trying to enclose land. They tried to stop this but the commons blocked three bills in 1548, so they set up commissions to look into enclosure abuses. Only one got anywhere near the area affected by the rebellion. Resentment against the landlords was made worse by increases in rent and overstocking of commons by landlords.

The rebellion was triggered primarily by two local rivals, Robert Kett and John Flowerdew. Both had enclosed their land and while noting broke out of Flowerdew’s estates Kett had the foresight to dismantle his before offering himself as spokesman for the rebellion. What had agitated the rebels were accusations that these men were obstructing a government commission that was investigating illegal enclosures in the area. The rebels thought they would have government backing if they took the law into their own hands, and began tearing down the enclosures.

The second most significant reason for the break out of the rebellion was religion. Kett’s rebellion was in part a reaction to the slow rate of progress Protestantism was making in eastern England. There was a strong feeling that the ministers were not good enough to advance the reformation and the rebels demanded better educated and resident clergy. Furthermore, seven articles in Kett’s manifesto contain more Protestant demands. They demanded that parishioners should choose new priests if their existing priest was not good enough among other demands. Other requests made by the rebels, leading to the break out of rebellion, included demands for a Cornish bible and annoyance at the closure of the local abbey.

Other reasons for the break out of the rebellion were political. The rebels were frustrated with their local government. The rebellion began in Norfolk, which was particularly ill-administered by its traditional magistrates. Kett’s article 57 says his purpose was to ensure that the ‘good laws, statutes, proclamations’ made for the good people were no longer disregarded by the JPs. The rebels at Mousehold were careful to govern the area around very fairly. Many of the rural ruling classes had been corruptly abusing their privileges, and in Norwich city there was a breakdown of trust between the governing class and the people who normally sustained local. Also, the rebellion was partly a response to the way in which Edward’s government appeared to pay little attention to East Anglia. However, despite their anger at the government’s apparent apathy towards the North, the rebellion was a possible reaction to the dominant faction at court. They didn’t beliebe Edward was old enough to make decisions.

In conclusion, the rebellion known as Kett’s rebellion broke out as a response to the difficulties involving the enclosures. Whilst religion became progressively more significant to the rebels, it was economic matters which first triggered the rebellion.

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