Cornwall Rebellion 1497

A.) Prehistory of the Rebellion

Cornwall was under English (Norman) rule for centuries, but because of her Celtic inhabitants and tradition, regarded as not being part of England. For long, Cornwall enjoyed a degree of political autonomy; administrative centralization and increased taxation are believed to be the cause of the revolt of 1497.

B.) The Rebellion

The rebellion began among the tinners of western Cornwall. One of them, Michael Joseph, called An Gof, marched an army of rebels toward Kent, in the hope to find support there (here the Wat Tyler Revolt had had her main support). Along the way their ranks swelled; Lord Audley joined them and took the lead. Another rebel leader was Peter Flamank. The rebels failed to find the support of the men of Kent, and were defeated in the Battle of Deptford Bridge, by a force of 10,000 well-armed men under Lord Daubeney which had been assembled to march on the Scots. In the battle, c. 200 Cornishmen were killed. Joseph and Flamank were executed in public on June 27th, Lord Audley decapitated the day after.
After the defeat at Deptford Bridge, Perkin Warbeck - an adventurer (claiming to be Richard, Duke of York, contesting the English throne) who had attempted several invasions of England respectively rebellions in Ireland against England, landed in Cornwall and raised an army of c. 6,000 men, proclaiming himself to be King Richard IV. (September 7th). On September 17th, they forced their way into the city of Exeter, but were expelled by local forces. On September 21st, facing a battle with an English force, he deserted his Cornish army. The force surrendered to the English. King Henry VII imposed a fine on Cornwall; only a few leaders were executed. Warbeck was arrested, and executed in 1499.

C.) The Legacy

Cornwall would raise again in rebellion in 1549.

An Gof and the Cornish rebels in Deptford, 1497, from Flame
The Cornish Timeline, from Cornish Ancestors
Perkin Warbeck, from Sosk Ernow
Perkin Warbeck and the English throne 1491 - 1499, from BBC History
REFERENCE Sebastian/F.E. Halliday, A History of Cornwall (1957), House of Stratus 2001

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 19th 2004, last revised on November 16th 2004

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