Cornwall Rebellion 1549 also referred to as the "Prayer Book Rebellion" and the "Western Rebellion"

A.) Prehistory of the Rebellion

Cornwall, a Celtic region, long autonomous, over the last decennia more and more integrated into the Kingdom of England, resented the introduction of the (English language) Book of Common Prayer 1549 as an attempt to replace their Celtic heritage and identity by an English one. As last in 1497, Cornwall, with parts of neighbouring Devon, again rose in rebellion. The dissolution of the monasteries 1536-1548 had deprived the Cornish of their traditional cultural centers.

B.) The Rebellion

An army of mercenaries (mainly Germans and Italians) was sent against the rebels, defeated them at Crediton and massacred 900 unarmed civilians at Clyst St. Mary.. The regents - the Earl of Somerset and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer - ordered rigorous persecution of the rebels; many more rebels were killed, overall an estimated 5000 men - about 10 % of the population of Cornwall.

C.) The Legacy

The suggestion to translate the Book of Common Prayer into Cornish was rejected; Cornwall forcefully reintegrated into the Kingdom of England. The brutal suppression of the rebellion of 1549 is said to have broken the spirit of the Cornish people.

The Cornish Timeline, from Cornish Ancestors
Article Prayer Book Rebellion, from Wikipedia, from, from Cornish Open Forum

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 19th 2004, last evised on November 17th 2004

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