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1497 and the western rising


1497 waa a year critical to the development of the Tudor state. The first dawning of a distinctly Tudor, as opposed to Yorkist or Lancastrian regime emerged from it. The events of that year are described in narrative form, as are the preceding ten years, with particular reference to the vicissitudes of the Yorkist party. A case for popular Yorkism is argued, as is the case for the politicization of the peasantry. This politicization is seen to arise from the bankruptcy of Henry VII's policies during the years 1495-1497, This politici -zation reached its height with the attempt of the western community to depose Henry at the point of battle. Their failure opened six months of disaffection in the west which was ended by the suppression of the insurrection by the king and his government at Exeter.
An analysis follows in which it is made clear that the insurrection was not a matter of one county or class, Cornwall or the peasantry, but of an entire region and its community.
The conclusion or synthesis of the work argues thit tb.e reasons applied in the past to talking about the rising are inadequate because based in too local or too exclusively social and economic arguments. The rebellion began as a tax refusal but its context bestows on it a meaning related to dynasticism and right. This is demonstrable partly in the lives of those who led the rebels out of the the west of England and partly in an analysis of politics in the west, a politics which had brought Henry to power in 1485.
In future we should look more closely at the political events of Henry's reign and pay less attention to over-examined areas, for example administrative history, or to the unexamined assumptions which flourish for lack of knowledge of events.

Publication Date Jan 1, 1981

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