How Effectively Did Tudor Governments Deal with Rebellion in England and Ireland?

Topics: Mary I of England, Tudor dynasty, Edward VI of England Pages: 7 (2557 words) Published: April 10, 2013
How effectively did Tudor governments deal with rebellion in England and Ireland? Tudor governments were relatively successful in dealing with the problem of rebellion, although this was more effective towards the end of the period than at the beginning shown through the decline in rebellion after 1549: only 5 English rebellions occurred as opposed to 10 before 1549. Over the course of the Tudor period the main aims of rebellions were only fully achieved in the rebellions of 1525, the Amicable Grant and 1553. In addition to this the reforms made to local government, policies directly implemented by central government and the effects of trials and retribution, such as Henry VII’s concessions made to the late 15th century pretenders, Lambert Simnell and Perkin Warbeck and later in the period during Elizabeth’s reign, who recognised rebel Shane O’Neil as Earl of Tyrone, all contributed to the reduction in the frequency and scale of English rebellions.  Pre-emptive strikes implemented by Tudor governments were also instrumental, especially during the start of the period in Henry’s reign and later in Elizabeth’s reign, in preventing rebellion or stopping riots from becoming dangerous rebellions. In some areas these strategies and tactics worked better in some areas than others; Irish rebellions were generally more costly and more difficult to suppress.   Tudor governments can be considered to have dealt poorly with rebellion on account of repeated noble support for rebellions throughout the period. The support of the nobility was crucial to maintaining control of the localities and additionally, noble support of a rebellion could increase the risk of a rebellion overthrowing the monarch. This was due to the likely contribution of funds to bolster supplies and troops with the involvement of retainers and experienced foreign mercenaries. Lack of noble co-operation with the government could also increase the threat of rebellion. This can be seen in the Cornish rebellion of 1497 in which the rebels passed through four counties without any incidence of noble resistance and as a consequence they reached Blackheath, very close to London, which increased the threat to Henry VII. This in turn showcases how ineffective government policies to increase royal authority over the nobility had been up until this point.  This is similar to the occurrences of the Simnel rebellion of 1486-7 where Henry VII had to fight a battle in person against the rebels showing that the developments in enforcing the crown authority through the nobility had been ineffective from 1487-1497 in suppressing rebellions. Likewise similar incidents of lack of noble cooperation can be seen in the Pilgrimage of Grace (1536) and Wyatt’s rebellion (1554). Wyatt infact had planned a four pronged attack on London with support of a Devon MP, the 1st Duke of Suffolk, an influential Herefordshire family man along with himself, an influential Kentish landowner. Likewise later in the period the government’s failure to suppress noble support for rebellion can be seen, especially in Essex’s rebellion, who in 1601 had the support of the earls of Southampton, Sussex and Rutland. However it could still be argued that Tudor government achieved considerable success in this area. Although Henry VII’s efforts to limit the power of the nobility by restricting retaining rights seemed counter-productive to getting the nobility to co-operate, his ‘carrot and stick’ system of bonds and recognisances worked well as Henry achieved increased influence over the north after the 1489 rebellion after which there were no more serious disturbances during Henry VII’s reign, likewise, unlike all other Tudor monarch’s, Henry VII visited the Yorkist stronghold, York, during his reign, his visibility was clearly vital in reducing the frequency of rebellion there, yet unlike other Tudor monarch’s, Henry’s weak claim to the throne made it imperative to visit Richard IIIs power base. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I...
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