Wyatt's rebellion

Wyatt's rebellion

Wyatt's Rebellion was a popular uprising in England in 1554, named for Thomas Wyatt the younger, one of its leaders. The rebellion was intended to overthrow the newly crowned Queen Mary I.


The precise reason for the uprisings has been subject to much debate. Many historians, such as D.M. Loades, consider the rebellion to have been primarily motivated by political considerations, notably the desire to prevent the unpopular marriage of Queen Mary to Prince Philip of Spain. The rebels explained that the reason for the rebellion was "to prevent us from over-running by strangers." Nevertheless, all the rebel leaders were committed Protestants.

Initial plans

There were four chief rebel leaders:
*Thomas Wyatt, who owned large areas of land in Kent and had great influence there
*James Croft, who came from an influential Herefordshire family
*Peter Carew, who was an MP for Devon
*Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, who was based in Leicestershire.

Each of the four leaders would raise rebellions in one of the four counties, and together they would converge on London. They would then replace Mary with her half-sister Elizabeth, who would then marry Edward Courtenay. Meanwhile, a fleet of French ships would prevent Philip of Spain from reaching England.

Implementation of these Plans were prevented when Simon Renard, the Imperial ambassador to England, suspected a plot. He informed the Lord Chancellor, Stephen Gardiner, who questioned Courtenay, who revealed that there was indeed a rebellion planned.

Realising that under the circumstances a rebellion would be unsafe, Croft gave up. Grey proved more determined, but only managed to raise a force of 140 rebels, many of whom were his own men. He was refused entry to Coventry, and gave himself up. He was tried and executed, along with Guilford Dudley and Lady Jane Grey, neither of whom were involved in the uprising.

Carew attempted to raise support for the uprising in Devon, but the Protestant nobles there proved unwilling to commit treason, and the county's peasant inhabitants were largely Catholic. Also, he had played a large part in crushing the earlier Prayer Book Rebellion there. Carew fled to Normandy, but was arrested soon after. By this time, the French ships found themselves unable to maintain their position and returned to France.

Only Wyatt succeeded in raising a substantial force. On January 22, 1554 he summoned a meeting of his friends at his castle of Allington, and January 25 was fixed for the rising.


On January 26 Wyatt occupied Rochester, and issued a proclamation to the county. Many country people and local gentry collected. At first the queen's supporters, led by Lord Abergavenny and Sir Robert Southwell, the sheriff, appeared to be able to suppress the rising with ease. But the Spanish marriage was unpopular, and Kent was more affected by the preaching of the reformers than most of the country districts of England. Abergavenny and Southwell were deserted by their men, who either disbanded or went over to Wyatt. He now had 3,000 men at his command. A detachment of the London trainbands was sent against him under the command of the elderly Duke of Norfolk. But they also joined the rebels, raising their numbers to 4,000, while the Duke fled to London.

The rising now seemed so formidable that the queen and council sent a deputation to Wyatt to ask for his terms. He demanded that the Tower of London should be surrendered to him, and the queen put under his charge. The insolence of these demands turned an initially sympathetic London against Wyatt and Mary was able to rally the capital to her cause on 1 February by delivering a rousing speech at the GuildhallFact|date=September 2008.

Wyatt's army reached Southwark on February 3. Mary's supporters occupied London Bridge in force, and the rebels were unable to penetrate into the city. Wyatt was driven from Southwark by the threats of Sir John Brydges, afterwards Lord Chandos, who was prepared to fire on the suburb with the guns of the Tower.

Refusing to give up, the rebels marched to Kingston. The bridge there was also destroyed, but the rebels repaired it and crossed over. They met little resistance as they marched through the outskirts of London, but were stopped by the inhabitants of Ludgate. The rebel army then broke up.


Wyatt surrendered, and was tried and executed, along with approximately 90 rebels. Courtenay was exiled. Elizabeth, however, was spared execution because she had been unaware of the planned uprising. However, she was imprisoned as a precautionary measure.

The rebellion proved disastrous for the Wyatt family, as they lost their title and lands, including the family home, Allington Castle. However, when Elizabeth, a Protestant and distant relative of the Wyatt family, ascended the throne in 1558, she restored the family titles and lands.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wyatt — may refer to:Peopleurname* Wyatt Family , a prominent English (later also American) family **Thomas Wyatt (poet), Tudor poet **Thomas Wyatt the younger, his son, leader of Wyatt s rebellion **Sir Francis Wyatt, Colonial Governor of Virginia,… …   Wikipedia

  • Wyatt, Sir Thomas, the Younger — ▪ English soldier Wyatt also spelled  Wyat   born c. 1521 died April 11, 1554, London  English soldier and conspirator who led an unsuccessful rebellion against Queen Mary I, probably the most formidable uprising ever faced by a Tudor monarch.… …   Universalium

  • WYATT, Sir Thomas — (1503 1542) Thomas Wyatt is credited with having Englished the Italian poet Petrarch and more generally with having brought the polish and continental sophistication to English poetry that earned him George Puttenham s commendation in 1598 as one …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • WYATT, SIR THOMAS —    1) English poet, courtier, and statesman, born at Allington Castle, in Kent, and educated at St. John s College, Cambridge; was a welcome presence at court, a friend of Anne Boleyn, in high favour with the king, and knighted in 1537; did a… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Thomas Wyatt the younger — Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger (1521 – 11 April, 1554) was a rebel leader during the reign of Queen Mary I of England; his rising is traditionally called Wyatt s rebellion .Birth and careerHe was born at Allington Castle, the only son of Sir Thomas …   Wikipedia

  • Thomas Wyatt (poet) — Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 ndash; October 11, 1542) was a 16th century English lyrical poet.Wyatt was born at Allington Castle, near Maidstone in Kent, though his family was originally from Yorkshire. His father, Henry Wyatt, had been one of Henry… …   Wikipedia

  • Elizabeth Brooke, Lady Wyatt — Elizabeth Brooke was the wife of Thomas Wyatt, the poet, and the mother of Thomas Wyatt the younger who led Wyatt s Rebellion against Mary I. She was the sister of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham.Elizabeth separated from Thomas Wyatt and openly… …   Wikipedia

  • Thomas Wyatt le jeune — Sir Thomas Wyatt, dit le Jeune[1] (en anglais Thomas Wyatt the younger) (1521 11 avril 1554) était un homme d armes anglais connu pour avoir conduit la « révolte de Wy …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas Wyatt le Jeune — Sir Thomas Wyatt, dit le Jeune[1] (en anglais Thomas Wyatt the younger) (1521 11 avril 1554) était un homme d armes anglais connu pour avoir conduit la « révolte de Wy …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Manhattan Rebellion — The Manhattan Rebellion of June 1951 was the Royal Thai Navy s long expected attempt to overthrow the government of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram. The rebels defeat resulted in the near complete dismantling of the navy, as well as the rise… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.