‘How far were rebellions in Tudor England caused by social and economic grievances?’ (60)
The Tudor monarchs faced many different rebellions during their individual reigns from 1485-1603 and it can be argued that the majority of these were caused by social and economic grievances. However, we can also see that rebellions were caused by other factors such as; religion, political problems/disputes and personal gain. Therefore, it is evident that Tudor rebellions, in most cases, were not caused by just one primary factor such as social and economic grievances and there were many different causes.
Social grievances as a cause of rebellion are best seen when analysing the impact of enclosures. The act of enclosing involved isolating a field with a hedge, fence or ditch and this increased tension between landlords and tenants.
The Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 (Henry VIII reign) is most commonly known to be a religious fuelled rebellion however the rebels mentioned the problem of enclosures in their articles. There was much rioting over enclosures in 1535, especially in northern England and this was definitely an underlying problem in the Pilgrimage of Grace.
More blatantly, Kett’s rebellion in Edward’s reign (1549) gives strong evidence social grievances through enclosure caused rebellion. Rebels in Norfolk were disgruntled by the enclosure of landowner’s fields as they thought they had been doing it illegally and began ripping down and burning fences and hedges. Robert Kett, who had his own land enclosed, negotiated with the rebels before his own fence was torn down and became the spokesperson for the rebels.
The Oxfordshire rebellion in 1596 is another rebellion that can be seen to of been caused by enclosures. Although the rebellion only involved four people it shows how easily it may have escalated and led to bigger problems. Social problems such as food shortages and the introduction of new enclosures were said to of been the main concern of the four...