Cade’s Rebellion 1450
Cade’s Rebellion in 1450 is often seen as the prelude to the war of the Roses but what were the facts and how does this fit with the complex jigsaw of circumstances that leads to that turbulent time in English history?
Virtually nothing is known about Jack Cade, the supposed leader of the Kentish revolt before the summer of 1450. The revolt was a reaction against an inept government and inert King (Henry VI) baring the blame for England’s defeat at the end of the 100 Years War with the people burdened by high taxes the climate was ripe for rebellion.
Henry VI sought to take revenge on the people of Kent under the control of his courtiers for the murder of Walter (William?) DE LA POLE Earl and the 1st Duke of Suffolk potentially responsible for the policy that led to the loss of Normandy, his family had been early funders of the hundred years war and been thus ennobled and this was enough to lead Kent into open rebellion. The rebellion had its own manifesto “the Complaint of the Commons of Kent” It was no just a parochial uprising for many weeks gentry and commoners were caught up by the rebellious fervor and supportive of the rebellion. Their forces gathered and mustered at Blackheath in London. DE LA POLE was
The advance guard of HenryVI was ambushed. The King withdrew to Kenilworth, providing the inroad for Cade’s followers to enter London and start executing unpopular courtiers. Cade struggled to restrain the actions of the mob of followers and normal Londoners turned against the mob rule. Cade sought to disband his troops as matters got out of hand but he was hunted down and killed on 12 July 1450.
The criticism of the Lancastrian government was quickly exploited and pursued by Richard Plantagenet , Duke of York some historians suspect and argue that Cade might have been encouraged and/or incentivised by Richard and his followers. The facts are uncertain but the climate of unrest certainly leads into the turbulent times of the War of the Roses and the conflict over the claim of the House of York to the English throne.
For more about the House of York and Lancaster go to our Periods of History or specifically the Yorks here and the Lancastrians here