To What Extent Were Rebels in Tudor England Trying to Restore Rather Than Overthrow Political Order?

Tudor rebellions were caused by a number of different factors resulting in a variety of social sectors and due to this some rebellions, primarily those with socio-economic or religious causes and high involvement from the commons aimed for stability. However, dynastic and personal ones led by the nobility often aimed to overthrow order.

Social and economic rebellions can be seen to be primarily attempts to restore order as they were reactions to specific policy not attacks on the monarch as a whole. Themes such as tax and enclosure run through these rebellions and ultimately it is an attack on these specific issues. For instance, the Cornish Rebellion of 1497 over the £800,000 subsidy for the Scottish War attacked Reginald Bray and Cardinal Morton for these policies not the monarch.

Furthermore, some even recommended further changes to put in place in order to create further stability as with Kett's of 1549 which recommended the rights of the nobility to own rabbits and doves to be maintained. Socio-economic rebellions can therefore generally be seen as attempting to restore stability.

However, within some rebellions these were elements of class warfare which would imply a level of wishing to overthrow order. The Tudor period very much focused on hierarchy a legitimacy according to birth - as can be seen with the support of Mary in 1553 despite her gender and religion. Therefore, class warfare could threaten the very basis of Tudor England. We can see this in the Western Rebellion 1549 where they marched under the slogan of 'Kill the Gentlemen' and killed William Hellyons. They also demanded limits on the number of servants nobles could employ. Equally in Kett's they demanded the removal of bond men, tried the nobility at the Tree of Reformation and after capturing one of Northampton's mercenaries they hung him over the city walls and stripped him naked as a sign of contempt for his finery. However, classwarfare is perhaps more of an underlying theme and...