The causes of Tudor Rebellions from 1485-1601

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Northumberland's Coup 1553

In 1553 as Edward was dying he issued a 'Devise' which aimed to exclude Mary from the succession in order to avoid passing the throne to a Catholic. It was also largely responsible for the Duke of Northumberland's rebellion. He saw an opportunity to hold on to power and led an armed rebellion in favour of his daughter in law Lady Jane Grey.

Factional/Religious/Dynastic: John Dudley, the Earl of Northumberland had grown in power at the end of Edward’s reign and was reluctant to lose this power or see England under the leadership of a Catholic Queen. Edward’s ‘devise’ aimed to exclude Mary from the succession and was largely responsible for the Duke of Northumberland’s rebellion.

In 1553 the Duke of Northumberland had the support of aristocrats like the earls of Oxford and Huntingdon, and Lords Grey and Clinton in his attempt to overthrow Mary, but significantly more nobles rallied to her defence and most of Northumberland’s army 2000 deserted when confrontation seemed likely. The critical moment came on 18th July when Earl of Oxford defected. Next day, the Privy council declared for Mary, and the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London followed suit. Though Northumberland could still count on some loyal nobles he knew the game was up.

Mary’s response was to show leniency towards the rebels. Only a handful were punished: Northumberland and his two close associates, Sir John Gates and Sir Thomas Palmer were executed. Lady Jane Grey, her father and Northumberland’s sons were imprisoned. Jane was later executed as a result of Wyatt’s rebellion. Showed that the Protestant reformation was not as complete as it was assumed as many welcomed the return of a Catholic Queen. It also shows how important the rightful heir was to the people of England- they would rather a legitimised Tudor on the throne.

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