An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part I. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
At the death of King Henry the Eighth, his executors, and other of nobility assembling together, by sound of trumpet proclaimed his son and heir by the name of Edward the Sixth, King of England, France, and Irland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Churches of England and Irland Supreme Head; (fn. 1) he being then but nine years, three months, and sixteen days old, on the 28th day of January, in the year of the world 5513, and of our Lord 1546, according to the computation of the church of England, or according to the account of them who begin the year at January, 1547. (fn. 2) And on Shrove-Sunday, Feb. 25th, his coronation was solemnized with all pomp imaginable, not only in London, but in all other great places throughout the realm; at this city were great rejoicings on this occasion, the six great guns being brought to Tombland, (where they were often discharged,) and the populace treated with plenty of beer, bonfires being fixed in almost every open street; (fn. 3) before the procession was a pageant drawn by horses, representing the King, by the effigies of King Solomon placed in it; there was also the representation of a mermaid, carried between two men, which show much diversion to the spectators. (fn. 4)
The 8th day of March following, the King and the executors of his diseased father, granted to the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty, the Hospital of St. Giles (fn. 5) in this city, with all the revenues thereto belonging, for the maintenance of poor people to dwell therein; all which his father had promised to give them, upon the suit of the citizens made to him, (fn. 6) a little before his death, for that purpose. (fn. 7)
In November, an act was passed, for the continuance of making of worsted yarn in Norfolk, it appearing that "the greatest and almost the whole number of the poor inhabitants of the county of Norfolk, and the city of Norwich, be, and have been heretofore for a great time maintained, and gotten their living by spinning of the wools growing in the said county of Norfolk, upon the rock, into yarn, and by all the said time, have used to have their access to common markets within the said county and city, to buy their wools there, to be spun as is aforesaid, of certain persons called retailers of the said wools, by eight penyworth and twelve penyworth at one time, or there about, and have not used to buy, ne can buy the said wools, of the breeders of the said woolls, by such small parcells, as well for that the said breeders of the said woolls, will not sell their said woolls by such small parcells, as also, for that the most part of the said poor persons dwell far off, from the said breeders of the said woolls." (fn. 8) And all persons whatsoever, except merchants of the staple, being restrained under a great penalty, from retailing of wool, by the statute of the 37th Henry VIII. the retailers aforesaid ceased so doing, by reason of which, the greater part of the poor both of Norfolk and Norwich, heretofore maintained by spinning, were now forced to beg, for lack of work, to the utter ruin and decay of the said city and county, unless remedy be speedily had, in order for which, this act enabled every person in Norwich or Norfolk to buy and sell in open market, any wool of Norfolk growth, notwithstanding the aforesaid act; and also made the act of 33d Henry VIII. (fn. 9) perpetual, and added a clause authorising all hatters dwelling in Norwich to buy such worsted yarn as is called and known by the name of middle-wooffe-yarn, as heretofore they used to do, on condition it be employed in hat-making within the city only; all which was again confirmed by the statute of 5th Edward VI. cap. VII. in which the wool growers are obliged to sell their wool in a year's time after the shearing.
In this parliament was the act made, (fn. 10) confirming that of the 37th Henry VIII. (fn. 11) by which all colleges, free-chapels, chanteries, hospitals, fraternities, brotherhoods, guilds, &c. with all their goods and revenues, were vested in the King, his heirs and successours for ever, on pretence of being converted "to good and Godly uses, as to the erecting grammar schools to the education of youth in vertue and godliness, the further augmenting of the universities, and better provision of the poor and needy," as the preamble sets forth; but how executed as to these things, we know too well, unless we may judge the hungry courtiers to be the poor and needy intended thereby; for certain I am they were the persons that devoured most of them.
By this statute also, all lands and annual rents assigned to the finding of a priest for ever to sing, say mass, or pray, for any soul or souls, or to keep any perpetual obit, mind-day, anniversary, memorial, or certeyn, or to sustain any light, lamp or candle, in any church were given to the King; and where any corporation paid to the maintenance of any such, that maintenance should be yearly paid to the King as a rent charge for ever.
Now also was the statute commonly called the Six Articles repealed, which had caused the death of so many martyrs in the time of King Henry his father, as also those enacted by Richard II. and Henry V. for the suppression of the Scriptures in English. (fn. 12)
And now came out injunctions to cleanse the churches of all images, and commissioners were sent with authority to pull them down, who first began with St. Paul's in London, and then proceeded throughout England, which so much enraged the commons, that they began to rise in many places of the realm; first of all in Cornwall, then in Devonshire, and then in Norfolk, where many of the commons of the county, of Linn, Norwich, and other places, assembled on Rising Chase not far from Linn, and began to put themselves in the best posture of defence they could, by fortifying their camp, and bringing in what provisions they could get, upon which the gentlemen of the county applied to the city, which raised what forces they could immediately, being joined as they went along, by all that could be gotten from Watton, Thetford, Dereham, Brandon, and other towns, and coming up to them in good order, routed and dispersed them; nobody of note being slain in the engagement, that I find, except a brother of Sir William Farmer, who died on the spot. (fn. 13) The Atlas (fn. 14) makes this a party of the tumultuous rabble in Kett's time, and says, that they fled to their companions at Norwich: but this was sometime before that rebellion, and that mentioned there was a second rising at this place. It appears the city was at great charge about it, for they gathered in the parish churches in the city, 150l. 6s. 8d. "toward the grete charges the cyte hade, by reson of a commocion in the contry;" (fn. 15) and it is plain they were in great fear of these rebels coming to sack it, as they threatened, for now a fire brake out in Conysford, which was happily extinguished; (fn. 16) but no one knowing how it came, gave suspicion that it might be done by such of the rebels fautors as were in the city, upon which they repaired their ditches, &c. in case of an attack.
This year was great cost done to the river, by the procurement of Edw. Wood, then mayor, who died the last day of October, and Mr. William Rogers was chosen the fifth of November following, being elected by the sheriffs and commons, without the aldermen, who seeing the impending storm, wisely omitted making any opposition, least occasion should afterwards be taken, to make them authors of the approaching trouble, which they much dreaded, and therefore they suffered the mayor to be sworn the same day very peaceably, so that the succeeding rebellion did not break out first at this city, which they feared, and as I am apt to think was intended, but was stifled till about the 20th of June, 1549.
The occasion of this rebellion was, because divers lords and gentlemen, who were possessed of abbey lands, and other large commons and waste grounds, had caused many of those commons and wastes to be enclosed, whereby the poor and indigent people were much offended, being thereby abridged of the liberty that they formerly had, to common cattle, &c. on the said grounds to their own advantage, the Lord Protector (fn. 17) had at that time lost himself in the love of the vulgar, by his severe, if not unnatural, proceeding against his brother: (fn. 18) and in order to regain their love, he caused a proclamation to be published in the beginning of May, that all persons who had enclosed any lands that used to be common, should lay them open again, before a fixed day, on a certain penalty for not doing so. This so much encouraged the commons in many parts of the realm, that not staying the time limited in the proclamation, they gathered together in a tumultuous manner, pulled up the pales, flung down the banks, filled up the ditches, laying all such new enclosed lands open as they were before; for which, some of them had been attacked and slain in Wiltshire, by Sir Will. Herbert; others suppressed by force of arms, conducted by the Lord Gray of Wilton, as were those in Oxfordshire, and some reduced to more moderate and sober courses, by the persuasion of the lords and gentlemen, as in Kent and Sussex: but the most dangerous commotions which held so long as to entitle them to the name of rebellions, were those of Devonshire and Norfolk, places remote from one another, but such as seem to have communicated counsels for carrying on their design. (fn. 19) For divers seditious persons and busy fellows began to complain, that the like was not done in Norfolk, as report said was done by the commons of Kent, who had laid open all such new enclosed lands; and from thenceforth they determined to do the same here, designing not only to lay open parks and new enclosures, but to attempt other reformations, (fn. 20) as they termed them,) to the great danger of overthrowing the commonwealth. (fn. 21) They openly declared great hatred against all gentlemen, whom they maliciously accused of covetousness, pride, extortion, and oppression, practised against their tenants and the common people, and having thoroughly imbibed the wicked notions of the ancient levellers, (fn. 22) they begin to put in execution their vile designs, and first of all, the inhabitants of Attleburgh, Eccles, (fn. 23) Wilby, and other neighbouring towns, being enraged with Mr. John Green lord of the manor of Wilby, (fn. 24) for enclosing that part of the common belonging to his manor, which before laid open to the adjoining commons of Harfham and Attleburgh, on which they had all rights of intercommoning with each other, the tenants of the three towns, and others, assembled together, and threw down the new ditches, and laid the whole open as heretofore. Which being done, they all went home, and continued quiet till the 6th of July, at which time taking the opportunity of the feast or fair which was yearly kept at Windham on the day following, being the Translation of Bishop Becket, (fn. 25) to whom the chapel standing in the midst of the town, (fn. 26) was dedicated, (fn. 27) at which time were grand processions and interludes for a night and a day at least, which brought thither great numbers of country people to see the show, they then consulted further upon their wicked enterprise, and going thither, entered into conference with great numbers of the country people there, and went to Morley, a mile from Windham, and cast down certain ditches of Master Hobart's on the Tuesday, and returned that night to Windham again, where they practised the like feats; but as yet they took no man's goods by violence.
Upon this, one John Flowerdew of Hetherset, Gent. finding himself grieved by their casting down some of his ditches, came to some of the rebels, and gave them 40 pence to cast down the fences of an enclosure belonging to Robert Ket, alias Knight, (fn. 28) a tanner of Windham, which pasture laid near the fair-sted in Windham, which they did, and the next morning took their journey again to Hetherset, at Ket's desire, and laid open Master Flowerdew's enclosures there; upon which was much ado, for Flowerdew did what he could to cause them to desist, insomuch that many sharp words passed between him and Ket; but Ket being a man hardy and fit for any desperate attempt, pushed forwards so much, that they executed his will, and so he revenged himself upon Flowerdew, whose hedges and ditches were all thrown down and made plain. The rebels seeing Kett to be a resolute, stout-hearted fellow, unanimously chose him their captain and ringleader, who thereupon willed them to be of good comfort, assuring them he was resolutely determined to stand by them, and spend both his goods and life to revenge their liberty, which he pretended was much injured; to him was joined William Kett, his brother, a butcher of Windham, who by reason of his desperate hardiness, was much valued by them; and now being furnished with such commanders, and forming themselves into a camp, at the report thereof numbers of lewd and desperate persons, great routs of servants and runagates, came flocking from all parts to Ket's camp, so that being now guarded with sufficient power as he thought, and having wasted Hetherset, Windham, and most of the adjacent villages, on the 10th day of July, (fn. 29) they passed the river between Cringleford and Eaton: the city hearing what route they intended shortly to take, had sent messengers the day before to the King's counsel at Windsor, to inform them of it, and others to Sir Roger Townesend and William Paston, to desire them to come to their assistance. The rebels having passed the river, came to Bowthorp, and cast down certain hedges and ditches there, and their number being now vastly increased, they incamped there that night: here Sir Edm. Windham, Knt. high-sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, came and proclaimed them rebels, and commanded them in the King's name, to depart peaceably to their own homes, but had not his horsemanship been better than his rhelorick, himself had not departed the place, for being greatly offended at the proclamation, they attempted to have got him into their hands, but being well horsed, he valiantly brake through those that had compassed him in, and escaping from them, hasted with all speed to Norwich, which is about two miles distant; the same night, great numbers of loose people, both from the city and country, came to them, with weapons, armour, and artillery: and now the rebels began to play their pranks, threatening to burn the house, and deface the dove-coat, (formerly a chapel, before it was turned from a house of prayer to a den of thieves,) of Master Corbet's of Sprowston, committing many other outrages wherever they came. (fn. 30)
The day before they came hither, some of the city had thrown down the quickset hedge, and filled up the ditches, that enclosed the common-pasture of the city, called the Town-Close, to keep in the citizens cattle going there, before their common neatheard, in which place the neat cattle of the poor freemen of the city were pastured, and looked after by the neatherd, who received of every owner by custom, a halfpenny for every beast kept there, and so that fence which by good and provident advice of their fore-fathers, had been raised for the common profit of the city, was thus cast down by the very persons whose interest it was made for; (fn. 31) and scarce had they thrown down the ditch in the upper part of the close, before a company of ill disposed persons (fn. 32) escaped secretly out of the city and joined Ket and his comrades. Thomas Codd, then mayor, (fn. 33) fearing the ill consequence of this rebellion, summoned an assembly of the aldermen and principal citizens, and goes with them to the camp, to try if he could persuade the rebels to desist from their traiterous enterprise: when he came there, he found them giving themselves to all manner of riot and excess; first he tempted them with money and fair promises to depart home, using what persuasions he could to reduce them to dutiful obedience, but finding all things ineffectual, and seeing that neither entreaty nor reward would avail, he returned to the city. After his departure, the rebels began to perceive, and were further convinced of it, by certain men coming to them from the city, with small boughs in their hands, which was the sign agreed upon, that if they remained any longer scattered one from another, they would without difficulty be vanquished; whereupon they went directly to Eaton wood, which having thoroughly viewed, and found inconvenient to pitch their camp on, they unanimously agreed to go immediately to Mushold, and presently sent to the mayor, to request him to permit them to pass through the city to that place, it being their nearest way, promising to do injury to no man, but quietly to march through to the place appointed; but the mayor absolutely refused, threatening them, and telling them to what end such attempts would bring them, which instead of terrifying them, made them the more obstinate, and so they continued that night in Eaton wood; the next day, Sir Roger Woodhouse, with seven or eight of his household servants, came to them, bringing with him two carts laden with beer, and one laden with victuals: for recompense whereof, he was stripped of his apparel, had his horses taken from him, and whatever else he had, the rebels accounting the same a good prey; he himself was cruelly tugged and cast into a ditch of — Mores's of Nether-Erlham by Hellesden-bridge, (fn. 34) and was kept by them as a prisoner; thence passing the river by the said bridge, they came to Master Corbet's house at Sprowston, which they intended to have burned, but being persuaded from it, they spoiled his goods; and lodging that night at Draiton, the next day went directly to Moushold, and coming to St. Leonard's Hill, (fn. 35) seized on the noble palace of Mount-Surrey, and spoiled whatever they found in it, converting it into a prison, where they confined Sir Rog. Woodhouse, (fn. 36) Serjeant Catlyn, Serjeant Gawdy, and other gentlemen, (fn. 37) whom they caught. Here they incamped, having the main river running between the hill and the city, on the east and south part Thorp village and wood, (fn. 38) and on the north and north-east, Moushold heath, which is in length and breadth at least three or four miles, and here lurking in the woods, as dogs in their kennels, they violated all laws of God and man; and now having got a fixed station, the vilest and basest of the people from Norfolk, and the city, joined them daily, being called together by firing of beacons, and ringing of bells. The mayor and aldermen in the mean time took counsel together how to proceed in so dangerous a case, and opinions were very different, some thought they were to be attacked immediately, arguing that if they were not repressed at the beginning, the destruction of the whole city must necessarily follow, others thought it best not to hazard such a doubtful push, without urgent necessity, it being only hastening their destruction if the rebels should get the advantage; in short the result was, to fortify the city, set watch and ward carefully, place the citizens upon the walls, and other convenient places of defence, and for other things, because by the law of raising force and arms, it was provided that no bands be mustered, or forces raised without the King's command, they resolved to wait the return of the messenger, to know his will and pleasure.
Besides this great camp, (as they termed it,) there was a second formed, called the lesser camp, at Rising Chase, (fn. 39) but by the diligence and policy of the justices and gentlemen of those parts, they were speedily driven from thence, notwithstanding which, they reassembled at Watton, and there remained about a fortnight, stopping the passages over the river at Brandon-Ferry and Thetford; but at length, by Ket's order, they came and joined him at Moushold.
As soon as the report of this great camp being fixed on Moushold reached Suffolk, the commons there got together in a great multitude, entered the island called Lovingland, with intent to seize the town of Yarmouth, (fn. 40) but by the diligence of the magistrates and the courage of the townsmen, they were disappointed of their expectation; and taking another route, they joined their chief captain (as they called him) on Moushold.
And on the 13th of July, Pursevant Grove came from the King, and brought a commission directed to Mr. Watson, for reformation of divers things. (fn. 41)
The rebels in the mean time, to cloak their malicious purposes with a counterfeit show of holiness, were so religiously rebellious, that they caused Tho. Coniers, minister of St. Martin's at the Plain, in Norwich, to say service morning and evening, forcing him to pray to God for prosperous speed in this their ungodly enterprise: moreover they went about to join to their cause divers honest men, who were commendable for religion, doctrine, virtue, and innocency of life; among whom, were, Robert Watson an excellent preacher, (fn. 42) Thomas Codd, mayor, and Tho. Aldrich of Mangreene-hall, a man, while he lived, beloved of all men; these three, though sore against their wills, they constrained to be present at all their consultations, and to take upon them the administration of all things, with Ket the chief rebel; which indeed happened well for many, for when the principal conspirators stirred up the mad multitude to any wicked undertaking, which tended either to the spoiling of the city, fields, or adjacent villages, the wise and careful diligence of these men often hindered the execution of it. And now Ket growing bolder by meeting with no opposition, began to direct warrants to fetch victuals into the camp, in the following form:
"WE the King's friends and deputies, do grant license to all men, to provide and bring into the camp at Mousehold, all manner of cattel and provision of vittels, in what place soever they may find the same, so that no violence or injurie be done to any honest or poore man, commanding all persons as they tender the King's honour, and roiall Majestie, and the releefe of the common welth, to be obedient to us the Governors, and to those whose names ensue, Signed Robert Ket," &c.
And now he, with two assistants chosen out of every hundred, kept his King's Bench, Chancery, and all other courts, under a tree, termed the Oak of Reformation, where he pretended to do justice (whether wrong or right) to all such as were summoned before him. (fn. 43)
By virtue of commissions from these assistants, many of the principal gentlemen of the county were fetched from their houses, brought to the camp, and there imprisoned, as though they had been guilty of great crimes: moreover, the hedges and ditches of commons enclosed were demolished, and many were charged and forced to assist in these things: the mayor, Mr. Watson, and Mr. Aldrich, were not only obliged to wink thereat, but sometimes to seem to consent thereto; for to have resisted them, had been but folly, and the way to have put themselves in danger of destruction, and their country too. The city took what care they could to guard themselves, hoping daily for relief from the Council, without which they dared attempt nothing; now the reason why the Council were so slack in sending succours was, because they were not only troubled with these rebels, but were busied about quieting the like troubles in the inner part of the realm, about London, Surrey, Essex, Devonshire, Kent, Cambridgeshire, &c.
In the mean time the sedition increased daily, so much that there were now no less than sixteen thousand of these rebels in the camp, who by the advice of their captain, fortified themselves, providing powder, ball, and all manner of weapons, which they fetched out of ships, gentlemen's houses, shops, and other places where any was to be found; and withall spoiled the country of all the cattle, riches and coin, that they could lay their hands on.
Now because many of them hid what they got, hoping hereafter to convert it to their own private use, Ket and the other governours (for so they would be called) by common consent decreed, that some place should be fixed upon where they might do justice; now the oak of reformation being an old tree with large spreading boughs, they fixed on it cross balks and rafts, and roofed it over with boards, and from thence, Ket, the Mayor, Master Aldrich, and other gentlemen, detained prisoners in the camp, (whom against their wills, they had chosen into the number of their governours,) heard and determined all complaints and disorders done among themselves, and if those who had concealed any goods, gotten by virtue of Ket's pretended commissions, were discovered, and the fact proved here, they were committed to prison.
The Mayor, Master Aldrich, and others, would often go up into this tree, and endeavoured by all the persuasive and mild arguments they could of, to make them desist from this course, and leave off committing such outrages. There were also divers grave and learned divines, that tried all ways possible to withdraw them from these wicked attempts, and to reduce them to peace and quietness, though at the same time they hazarded their lives by so doing; for the Mayor and other of the gentry, though they were admitted to the counsels of the rebels, for the better credit thereof, yet if Ket was present, were no better than herbe john in the pottage, having no influence on their consultations; but if he happily chanced to be absent, then they were like St. John's wort, (so sovereign for sores, and against the plague itself,) that they much mitigated the fury of their mischievous decrees. Mean time great plenty was in the camp, where a fat sheep was sold for a groat, but penury and misery in all other places. (fn. 44)
In this great calamity, (notwithstanding the upbraiding of Sir John Cheke, (fn. 45) who knew little of the matter but by hearsay only,) the mayor, aldermen, and principal citizens, with the city clergy, behaved with the utmost allegiance to the King, and the greatest prudence, for the safeguard of their city and country, the former by consulting daily what was best to be done, and the latter by preaching by day in the camp and churches, and by watching in the night with armour on their backs, so that nothing that belonged to them as faithful subjects and worthy ministers, was at any time omitted; so far were they from deserving that unjust censure of Sir John's, that it was not the principal part of city that were for the rebels, but only the scum of it, there being not one (that I have met with) of any figue or character, that sided with them, though indeed there was a great number of the populace that favoured them; and the state of the city was such, that it was not in the power of the magistrates to keep the city against them, as Excester did, with whose conduct Sir John upbraids this place: but it is evident that had they been able to have done it before, they would have done it, for upon succours coming, they immediately put themselves in a posture of offence, till which time it was impossible to do more than they did, which was to stand upon the point of defence.
And though the aforesaid author exclaims against Norwich in relation to the affair of the Marquis's miscarriage, and justly extolls Exchester for her prowesse, yet if we come to examine things, as we shall find the one deservedly praised, so shall we see the other as undeservedly and unjustly upbraided; Excester is a city (if I may credit the accounts we have of it (fn. 46) ) placed on a hill, having a castle, "the site of which is eminent and above both the citie and countrie adjoining, for they do all lie, as under the lee thereof," the city is strongly ditched and walled round, and is "not easily to be gotten by force," and was well provided with cannon and other weapons of defence; on the contrary "Norwich is like a great volume with a bad cover, having at best but parchment walls about it. (fn. 47) Nor can it with much cost and time be effectually fortified, because under the frowning brow of Moushold-hill, hanging over it, the river Yere, (fn. 48) so wanton, that it knoweth not its own mind which way to goe, such the involved flexures thereof within a mile of this city, runneth partly by, partly through it, but contributeth very little to the strengthning thereof." Now what could a weak city do in opposition to so great a multitude, possessed of such a hill, as gave them not only a large prospect, but a full command over it, and being neither strong by art or nature, and quite destitute of any number of cannons, and other weapons of defence, could be in no capacity to make any resistance; and therefore it had been as imprudent in the magistrates here, to have pretended to act as they did at Excester, as it was prudent in them; and as to the miscarriage of the Marquis of Northampton, it was so far from being occasioned by any misconduct of the citizens, that it was only their misfortune, that so unfit a man was sent to their rescue, "he being more acquainted with the witty than the warlike part of Pallas, (as compleat in musick, poetry, and courtship," (fn. 49) ) and so few succours, and many of them Italians, that it gave the rebels further pretence to fill the country with complaints, that these were only an handful of an armful to follow, driving on the design to subject England to the insolence of foreigners, for though neither wisdom nor valour was wanting in the King's soldiers, yet success failed them, being too few to defend Norwich and oppose the rebels: what was fifteen hundred soldiers (for there were no more of the English troops) to twenty thousand rebels? when on the other hand, Sir John Russel Lord Privy Seal, a person of a stout spirit, proper for such a service, and a man of great interest in that country, as well as estate, was sent down to Excester, "with a convenient power of men of warre, both on horseback and foot, and two bands of strangers," (fn. 50) a power sufficient to engage those rebels, which were only about 10,000. And as to the damage the Marquis's forces suffered out of the houses, it is plain this author was not acquainted properly with the affair, for it did not proceed from the citizens, (as he says,) but from the rebels themselves, who having stormed Bishop-gates, entered the houses in Holme-street, and so almost up to St. Martin's church; and it was those that did the great damage to the Marquis's men: so that I believe if the thing be rightly considered and duly compared, (fn. 51) Norwich was as free from any disloyalty as Excester, notwithstanding the accusations Sir John hath laid upon it.
At this time, the wisdom, faithfulness, courage, and integrity, of Dr. Mat. Parker, then professor of divinity, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, a native of this city, was very remarkable for minding to do the office and duty of a good pastor; in rebuking of wickedness, he showed himself stout and valiant, and in wary avoiding of dangers, witty and careful, so that he performed the faith he owed to God and the King, and by diligently providing for himself, showed that Providence, that is principally in wise men: one day going into the camp, he found Ket and his associates standing under the oak, communing of matters between themselves: at which time, the noble courage of the mayor appeared, and his worthy voice was plainly heard like a brave man; for upon Ket's being earnest with him to deliver up the keys of the city, and all his authority, and to resign the government of it into his hands, Codd stoutly answered, "He would give his blood and life out of his body, before he would by villainy treacherously forsake the city, or through fear or cowardice wickedly cast off his allegiance to the King:" (fn. 52) The matter being thus debated, and night coming on, the Doctor seeing the people overcharged with eating and drinking, and the heat of the sun, thought that good counsel and wholesome advice would be cast away upon such swine, and therefore wisely omitted saying any thing to them that day; so that leaving all things as he found them, full of fury and tumults, he returned to the city; the next day, which was Friday. He and his brother, Mr. Tho. Parker, who was afterwards mayor of Norwich, came early to the camp, where he found them all under the oak, hearing prayers, said by Mr. Coniers their chaplain, who was then reading the Litany; Dr. Parker thinking that time fit for his purpose, stepped up on the oak, and there made an excellent sermon, full of wisdom, modesty, and gravity, dividing his discourse into three parts,
Secondly, he advised them by no means to seek revenge of private displeasures, and not to chain or keep in irons those they held in ward, nor to defile their hands with blood, by taking away any man's life wickedly and cruelly.
Lastly, he wished them to have regard to themselves, and the commonwealth, and leave off their rash enterprise, not distrusting the King's herald and messenger, but to show such honour to his majesty, now in his tender years, as they might enjoy him hereafter, in his more ripe and flourishing state, being grown up in virtue to their great comfort.
But the oak, as soon as the auditory, would embrace his doctrine, his life being like to be ended before his sermon; for as the company heard him attentively and willingly, standing round about him, a lewd fellow among them cried out, "How long shall we suffer this hireling doctor, who being waged by gentlemen, is come hither with his tongue, which is sold, and tied to serve their appetite? But for all his prating, let us bridle them, and bring them under the orders of our law." Upon this, the people began to threaten the preacher, and say he should be brought down with arrows and javelins, and some were shot at him, (fn. 53) which put him in great fear, and that was increased by the noise and clattering of weapons under him; but he was happily deceived in that point, for there was not a man that stood next him under the compass of the tree, but what valued him exceedingly, and were glad of his coming hither, hoping his oratory might have some good effect; during this uproar Ket's chaplain (fn. 54) seasonably and wisely, though very abruptly, set the Te Deum, and with the help of some singing men there present, performed it so elegantly, that the multitude taken with the sweetness of the musick (which was a novelty to them) began by degrees to be appeased: and during the singing, the Doctor withdrew to sing his part at home, and praise God for his great deliverance; for coming down from the oak, and taking his brother with him, he made what haste he could to the city. But as they were going down St. Leonard's hill towards Pockthorp-gates, some of the rebels overtook him, and began to question him about his license, desiring him to show them what authority he had to preach? but he knowing it in vain to reason with them, slipt away, and left his brother to argue out the matter. However, the very next day, the Doctor going into St. Clement's church, took occasion from one of the Lessons appointed to be read for the day, (fn. 55) to expound somewhat concerning these wicked tumults, many of the rebels being present, who heard the end of his exhortation without interrupting him, though they seemed greatly offended at it; but staying for his coming out, they immediately followed him, and told him that they understood he had three or four able geldings, which might serve the King, and therefore they charged him that immediately after dinner they might be ready for them to make use of. To which the Doctor said but little; but went home, and forthwith ordered some of their shoes to be pulled off, and their hoofs to be pared to the quick, and then put on again, and others to be anointed with green ointment, as though they had been lame with travelling, and dressed with medicines. Then leading them to pasture, the rebels seing some of their feet swaddled and anointed, and others lamish, laid aside that design; and not long after, the Doctor seeming to take a walk out of the gates towards Cringleford bridge, met with his horses and servants there, as he had ordered, and mounting, took his journey towards Cambridge with all possible speed, and luckily escaped thither out of all danger, though by the way he met with and saw divers of the rebels playing their pranks in their usual outrageous manner.
By this time, having spoiled the country gentlemen of their goods, they now began to attack their bodies, and bring them as prisoners into the camp, which caused such a general fear, that many forsook their houses and estates, and changing apparel least they should be known in the flight, escaped by obscure paths, and hid themselves in caves of the earth, and thick woods: many, who had horses and carts, they forced to carry provision to the camp, and others, that had none of their own, were compelled to procure them elsewhere; gentlemen were now daily taken and brought into the camp, bound fast with cords like so many villains, some were kept in Norwich castle, some in the Gild-hall prison, and others were shut up in the Earl of Surrey's house, as felons and thieves: whenever they wanted money (which was often) if the mayor did not immediately supply them out of the common treasury, (fn. 56) they threatened to burn and rifle the city: which they had certainly done, if the diligence of the mayor had not prevented it.
Furthermore, to cloak their wicked actions under the King's authority, having seized several commissions sent from the King, directed to divers gentlemen in the country, authorising them to do their utmost endeavours to repress these commotions: in some of them they erased the names of the gentlemen, and inserted their own, and from others they took the seals, and placed them to forged commissions of their own making, and fixing them up in publick places, deceived many ignorant people thereby, and drew them to their party.
By this time their number being increased to above 20,000, they grew so disorderly, that Ket, the arch-rebel, could not restrain them: and now they threaten all such citizens as were fled with their families, and all such as would not declare on their side, as open enemies, so that nothing but fire and sword was hourly expected: whatever was brought into the camp was spent in a most gluttonous manner, insomuch that it seems almost incredible how so much could be devoured in so short a time, for besides swans, geese, hens, ducks, and all sorts of fowls without number, about 3000 bullocks and 20,000 sheep were spent in few days. The gentlemen's parks were laid open, and what deer they could get, killed and brought hither, and such as they had a particular spleen against, they destroyed their woods and groves, by cutting down the trees therein. Sometimes they would bring the gentlemen out of prison, chained two and two together, as it were to judgment, before the tree of reformation, there to be tried by these governours, as if they had been guilty of heinous crimes; and when it was asked the commons what should be done with the prisoners? they would cry with one voice Hang them! hang them! and if they were asked, Why they gave such rash judgment on those they never knew? they would roundly answer that others cried the same, and that they did it to give their assent with them, though they could give no other reason, but that they were gentlemen, and therefore (they said) not worthy to live.
Porters also were placed by them at all the city gates, and companies of the rebels to watch and ward at certain places, and the constables were made to provide and furnish them with what meat and drink they would have, at their own expense, even to the ruin of them.
And now one Wharton, a man of great courage, but not favoured by the people, was led to the castle, bound like a thief, and had there not been a great company of the rebels ordered by their captain to defend him, he had been slain by the unruly multitude: but neither his good behaviour to them, nor promises, nor the diligent care of the rebels that guarded him, could keep him from being stabbed in many places of his body with spears and pikes.
A lawyer also, who dwelt at Melton, was betrayed by a woman, and drawn out of a wood, where he had hid himself a little before, among the thorns and briars, and brought prisoner to the city, being hated by the commons, who esteemed him a subtile fellow; as they haled him along, the heavens thundered horribly, to the astonishment of them that heard it, and such mighty showers fell, mixed with hail, that the earth was covered very deep, not far from the tree of reformation; but this fearful tempest did not in the least appall or terrify them.
Many days had passed from the beginning of this rebellion, and nothing the whole time was done, but burning, wasting, robbing, and consuming of all things; and so great grief had now possessed all good men, and especially the citizens, that at the sight of the lamentable fate of their country, they were almost distracted, and all hopes of success by resisting was taken away, so that they remained within their walls, fearing daily destruction, and destitute of all counsel, not having as yet heard from that of the King.
While the rebels thus raged abroad in the country, at Hingham, about eleven miles from Norwich, Sir Edmund Knevet, Knt. with a small company of his own menial servants, set upon the night watch of the rebels that were placed there, and brake through, overthrowing divers of them, and had some of his own men also unhorsed, and in danger to be hewn in pieces among them, yet he recovered them, and escaped their hands through great manhood; after which good night's service, as they would have it esteemed, they repaired to their great captain Ket, to show their hurts, and to complain of their griefs. It was talked among them, that they would go to Sir Edmund's house at Bukenham castle, to assault it, and fetch him out of it by force. But some doubted it was too strong for them, (it being a place of great strength at that time,) and others feared sharp stripes if they should attempt that exploit, being at least twelve miles from their main camp, and so that enterprise dropt, the most part thinking it best to sleep in a whole skin.
It happened, that Mr. Leonard Sotherton, a citizen of Norwich, fled to London for safety of his life, the rebels having threatened him if they could get him; him the Council sent for, and by him were informed of all their proceedings, and how they daily increased, and hourly threatened destruction to the city, and all gentlemen they could meet with; at the same time he told them, that he had heard say, that there were many in the camp, who if they had any hope of the King's favour, and that they might escape unpunished, would willingly lay down their weapons, and embrace his Majesty's pardon. And therefore he was in hope, that if the King sent down his pardon, and proclaimed it in the camp, that most of them would disperse. This advice being approved of by the Council, who had their hands fully engaged other ways, a herald was sent with Sotherton directly to Norwich, and entering the camp apparelled in his coat of arms, standing before the tree of reformation, he there declared with a loud voice, so that all about him might hear, "That the King had granted his free pardon to all that would depart to their homes, and laying aside their armour, give over their traiterous begun enterprise." Upon which, almost all the multitude cried God save the King's Majesty; and at the renewing of that cry, many kneeled down, and with tears in their eyes commended the King's mercy, which all would have embraced immediately, had not the wicked speeches of some of the rascally sort, and the traitorous persuasions of that caitiff Ket himself turned them from peace, and stayed them from their dutiful inclinations. For Ket very fiercely and stoutly answered, so that all might hear him: "That Kings and Princes were accustomed to grant pardons to such as are offenders, and not to others; and that he trusted he needed not any pardon, sith he had done nothing but what belonged to the duty of a true subject; and herewith he besought them not to forsake him, but to remember his promise, sith he was ready to spend his life in the quarrel." The herald hereupon called him traitour, and commanded John Petibone, sword-bearer of Norwich, to arrest him for treason, as a traitour to his Majesty; upon which, so great a confusion followed among the multitude, that the herald saw Ket had so far enraged them, that they would accept of no pardon, so that he departed from them, crying out with a loud voice, 'All ye that be the King's friends, come away with me,' then the Mayor, and Master Aldrich, with a great number of other gentlemen that had been confined there, (among which were the two brothers, the Appleyerds,) and other honest yeomen, that were ready to obey the King, followed him: (fn. 57) and entering the city by Bishop-gates, the mayor commanded them to be shut, because otherwise the rebels might have forthwith entered the city. Holinshed says, this was on the last day of July, but it is a mistake, as the Chamberlain's accounts show us, for it was on the 21st of that month, it being the very day they made a present to the herald for his good service, at their return into the city, which is entered in these words, 'Gaf in reward on Mary Magdalen evyn, to Mr. York herald at arms, 8 peces of gold called soveraigns, l. 4.'
As soon as was possible, the mayor caused all the gates to be shut, and the gentlemen imprisoned in the castle and elsewhere to be set at liberty, who were all summoned to consult with him and his brethren, how they might defend the city from the rebels, and keep them from entering it by assault. And at last they determined to set watch and ward, day and night, on the walls and gates, and keep the city so close, that the means of transporting victuals from the camp being thereby cut off from that side of the river, the rebels might be wearied out, and obliged to decamp.
During this time, certain of the citizens that favoured the rebels had let a great number of them into the city, which raised such consternation, that it was thought safest for the gentlemen that had been let out of prison to be shut up again, least the rebels finding them abroad, should murder them; but soon after, it was perceived that they were returned to their camp the same way they came; upon which, the mayor and aldermen immediately began to rampire up Bishop-gates, to plant what ordnance they had, and make all necessary provision for the defence of the city that was possible; placing 10 of the greatest pieces of ordnance against the enemy in the castle-ditches, appointing watch and ward in all those places where the walls were decayed; then they proceeded to make bullets, &c. for their defence, as we learn from the accounts of the city chamberlains, in these words, paid to ij men that made that night cxx pyllets of gonshotte xvi.d. for cc and xiv l. lede, x.s. viij.d. and a bundell of large brown paper, and xv l. matchis dyvyded amongs all the gonners that night.
"Sir Wylliam Pastons (fn. 58) ij gret gonnys caryed from the common stathe to the castyl.
At length, having ordered things in this manner, they began to shoot off their artillery both from the city and camp, to annoy each other; but when the rebels saw that they did little hurt to the city with their ordnance lying upon the hill, they moved them down to the foot of it, and thence began to play against the walls, which being perceived, at the mayor's command, the ordnance was brought down from the castle ditches, and placed speedily in the meadows, (fn. 59) which lie in the lowest part of the city, and so the greatest part of the night was spent in fearful shot on both sides.
But the worst evil the magistrates had to overcome, was the scum of the city that were in it, and were of the rebels side, in so great number that their force was not sufficient to rule them, for they would go and come from the camp, in spite of the mayor and governours, and bewray whatever was done against their comrades, for here ys to be notyd, that the next day beyng Mary Magdalen day, the chamberlayns servyse don the night before, and speeyally for makyng of the gonshot, was bewrayed by John Fyshman to traytor Ket, so that he sent to hys howse about lxxx men, of which number Robert Ysod tanner, John Barker, bocher, Echard, myller of Heyham, were cheffe messengers, which persons caryed the chamberlain to the Guyldhall, and ther took away oon hole barrell of gunpowder, and a remnant of another barrell, that was left the night before, and certen yron pyllets (fn. 60) and lede pyllets, that servyd for the yronsling, and certen mores pykes that lay over the sembly chambyr, and compellyd him to pay for lyne and a maunde (fn. 61) to carry the sayd pelfer, vj.d.
"Item, they came ageyn to the chamberlayns howse, and tooke from thense cxx pyllets of lede, that war made the nyght before, and also they toke from him in corn, paper, and serpentyn powder of his own goods, to them sum of vjl. odd money, and besydes that, compellyd hym to pay for a new ferkyn to put in the gunshote vd. and for lyne to truss and carry the pelfer with, iijd.
"And the next day being xxiij July a gret sorte of the same company with others to the nombyr of C persons at the leste; came ageyn to the chamberlayns house, and toke away of his own goods, ij bows, iij sheffs of arrows, with cases and gyrdylls, iiij alman halberds, ij black bylls, certen clubbys and stavys, ii almayn ryvetts (fn. 62) as fayer as any war in Norwych, and a jack (fn. 63) of fustyan, and also carryd hym away wyth them to Mushold, to have hym to the tre (fn. 64) for makyng of the forsayd gunshote: and by the way, he intretyd them so that they caryed hym to Norwiche bothe, (fn. 65) wher he gaf them for remyssyon from goying to the tre, iijs. iiijd." (fn. 66)
By this time, as the mayor and citizens imagined, the camp began to be distressed for want of victuals, and in order the more commodiously to bring provision from the other side of the city, they sued for truce, for a certain time, sending James Williams, and Ralph Sutton, two of the vilest that the city produced, as their ambassadours from the camp to the city-gates, with a banner of truce in their hands, who were brought to the mayor and aldermen, of whom they demanded, in Captain Ket's name, "Peace and truce for a few days, whereby they might have liberty (as they lately had) to carry victuals through the city to the camp, which if they would not grant, they threatened to break into the city and destroy it with fire and sword." The mayor and aldermen flatly denied their request, "Protesting they would not permit traitours to have any passage through their city." Upon this refusal, the rebels were so enraged, that running down the hill, they made a violent assault upon Bishop-gates, but were as bravely repulsed, and forced to retire. Yea such rage appeared among them, that the boys and young lads showed themselves so desperate in gathering up the arrows, that when they felt them sticking in their bodies, they would pluck them out and give them to their bowmen to shoot again at the citizens; all this time the ordnance in the meadows did but little damage to the rebels, for want of sufficient powder, and skill in the gunners, though many of them were wounded with the arrows, which flew very thick from the city; but yet so great was their fury, that the very boys naked and unarmed, ran about provoking the citizens with reproachful speeches.
In the mean season, the rebels in the city, and those that favoured them, began a fearful uproar on the other side of the city, crying "to "your weapons, to your weapons, for the enemies are entered the city," which wicked stratagem answered the design, for all the citizens left that side of the city and ran to the other, so that the part where the assault first began, was left without defence; which the rebels seeing, renewed their assault, and the boys and country clowns, without fear, threw themselves into the river that runs before Bishop's-gate, and swimming cross, with swords, clubs, spears, staves, and javelins, made what few citizens were left there, retreat, and then pulling off the bars of the gates, let in the rebels, upon which, the citizens withdrew to their houses, and other secret places, where they hoped best to hide themselves from the fury of their enemies, which they imagined would now be executed to the total subversion of the city.
The first thing they did after they had thus entered by force was, to convey all the guns and artillery, and all other furniture of war whatever out of the city, to the camp, which was soon done; the boys and clowns mocking such citizens as they saw grieved, calling them traitours, cursing and reviling them.
The herald, who was still in the city, to see if the rebels would, before the day fixed for their pardons, (which was not yet expired,) give over their enterprise, came with the mayor and a great number of the principal citizens into the market-place, and there declared to the populace in the King's name, "That all such as would lay aside their arms, and go home to their houses, should have a general pardon, but all the rest should be punished with death."
The rebels that stood by and heard him, bad him depart with a mischief, for neither his fair offers nor his sweet flattering words should beguile them; for they detested such mercy, that under pretence of pardon, would cut off all their hope of safety and self-preservation. Upon which the herald departed, seeing nothing was to be done either through fear of punishment, or hope of pardon, and returned to court. Upon this Ket immediately ordered Leonard Sotherton (or Sutterton) to be brought before him, because he had accompanied the herald in his journey, but he fearing the matter, and being warned of it, was forced to hide himself in the city, among his friends and kindred, as many other good men did.
And now Ket took the mayor, Robert Watson, William Rogers, John Humberston, William Brampton, and many others of the wisest and best men of the city, and imprisoned them in Surrey-house, where some of them remained laden with irons till the last day of this conspiracy.
Ket perceiving that things were grown so desperate, that he must have either a bloody victory over his country, or else soon come to the shameful end he deserved, endeavoured all he could to draw a huge multitude together to encrease his army, so that what by rewards and fair promises, it is almost inconceivable to tell the numbers of rascally people that flocked to him from all parts on a sudden.
By this time, the citizens began to be sore displeased that their mayor (who was a man of remarkable honesty, and exceedingly beloved, not only by the better sort, but even by those that had joined the camp) should be so scandalously imprisoned, and remain in danger of his life, among the rebels, who began to threaten him sorely, and jesting at his name, would say one to another, "Let us come together to-morrow, for we shall see a Codd's-head sold in the camp for a "penny," alluding to the mayor's name. Whereupon, the citizens fearing least he should be made away among them, came and complained unto Thomas Aldrich, (fn. 67) (whose authority was great among the rebels, he being a man they also loved,) that they did not like such usage; and he immediately went to Ket, and being backed by a number of the citizens that were exceedingly angry at the usage of their mayor, he sharply reproved him for his cruel dealing, in imprisoning so honest a man as the mayor was, and withal commanded him to release him; when, either for shame, or fear of disobliging these citizens, he instantly set him at liberty, and permitted him to go all over the city; so that by his care and diligence, many of the citizens were much comforted. But because he could not abide in it, being constrained to be the most part of his time in the camp, he made Augustine Steward his deputy, commanding him to take the charge of governing and defending the city in his absence; and he with the assistance of Henry Bacon, and John Atkins, then sheriffs, ruled the city right carefully to their great credit, and kept all the citizens in order, except those unruly ones, whom no good order could command.
During this time, Ket and his companions used to make scorn and mock at such prisoners as they kept, and sometimes delivered them to the multitude, for that purpose, and a day was appointed, when all the prisoners were to be brought out to the oak, there to be tried, as they called it; and at the time, Ket himself went up on the oak, and setting down there, had the prisoners in order, one by one, called by their names, and then he enquired of his companions, what they thought of them? these varlets being made inquisitors, and judges of the lives of those innocent gentlemen; if they found nothing against the man in question, they called out A good man, he is a good man, and therefore ought to be set at liberty; but if any small crime or dislike was but once named by any of them, they called out. Let him be hanged, let him be hanged, though at the same time they did not so much as know the man.
The Council being ascertained by the herald's return, that nothing but force would quiet the Norfolk rebels, appointed William Parr Marquis of Northampton, an excellent courtier, and one more skilled in leading a measure than a march, with 1500 horsemen of the King's forces, to go down to Norwich to attack the rebels and defend the city; with him went the Lord Sheffield, and the Lord Wentworth, Sir Anthony Denny, Sir Henry Parker, Sir Richard Southwell, Sir Ralf Sadler, Sir John Clere, Sir Ralf Powlet, Sir Richard Lee, Sir John Gates, Sir Tho. Paston, Sir Henry Bedingfield, Sir John Suliard, Sir William Walgrave, Sir John Cutts, Sir Thomas Cornwalleis, Knts, with a good number of other knights, squires, and gentlemen, and a small band of Italians, under the command of Mala-testa, an experienced soldier: which the rebels took advantage of, and filled the country with complaints that these were part of the numberless foreigners to which England was going forthwith to be subjected, which made some of them more resolute than before.
The Marquis being now come within a mile of Norwich, sent Sir Gilbert Dethick, Knt. who was then Norroy, and afterwards Garter King at Arms, to summon them within the city, to yield it into his hands, or upon refusal, to proclaim war against it. Augustine Steward, the deputy mayor, sent to the mayor, who was now detained in the camp, to let him know what message he had received from the Marquis, who returned answer, that all these confusions much grieved him, and more so because he could not wait on him to deliver the city into his hands himself, being detained by a guard of the rebels, in danger of his life; but having given his authority to Mr. Augustine Steward, a wise and careful man, least in his absence the people should fall away from their duty, he had ordered him to be ready to surrender it into his hands, and to submit all things wholly to his Lordship's order and disposition. This message being soon carried by Norroy, the deputy mayor, sheriffs, and a great number of the chief citizens, went to the Marquis's army, and delivered the sword (fn. 68) to his Lordship, declaring that the mayor himself would have gladly come if he could have got from the rebels, and that although a great number of the scum and populuce of the city were partakers with the rebels, yet the substantial and principal citizens never did, nor never would consent to their doings, but were ready at all times to receive him into their city, and obey him as the representative of the King himself.
Upon which, the Marquis comforted them with good words, telling them he hoped he should appease these troubles shortly. Then he delivered the sword to Sir Richard Southwell, who carried it bare headed before the Marquis into the city, which honour, by solemn and ancient custom, is always given to the King's lieutenants: he made his entry at St. Stephen's-gates, and forthwith gave commandment that all the citizens should meet him in the market-place, where they consulted long, and many things were resolved upon, as well for the defence of the city as for restraining the assault of the enemy. Immediately watch and ward were appointed for the walls and gates, and the weak places of the old walls were guarded by armed men day day and night.
Things being thus ordered, the Marquis, with the nobles and gentlemen, supped at the deputy mayor's, and lodged there, but kept their armour on their backs all night, (though they were wearied with a troublesome journey of three days, and the heat of the weather,) for fear of a sudden assault.
It happened (but whether by chance or appointment is not known) that the strangers went out and offered skirmish to the rebels upon Magdalen-hill; the rebels first came forth with their horsemen, who better understood plundering the country, than fighting, for they were no match for the strangers; which their fellows seeing, they put their archers before their horsemen, designing to surround the strangers, but they perceiving their drift, cast themselves into a ring, and retired into the city, leaving an Italian gentleman behind them, who had ventured too far, and being unfortunately thrown from his horse, was taken, spoiled of his armour, and as a specimen how they would use others, hanged over the walls of Surrey-house.
The watch being set, the Marquis ordered the rest of the soldiers to be armed all night, and to make a huge fire in the market-place, which was appointed their general rendezvous, so that the streets might be light, least by darkness and ignorance of the place they should be enclosed in the night by their enemies. (fn. 69)
Sir Edward Warner, Marshal of the Field, gave the watch-word, Sir Thomas Paston, Sir John Clere, Sir William Walgrave, Sir Thomas Cornwaleis and Sir Henry Bedingfield, men of approved valour and wisdom, were dispersed in divers parts of the city, for defence thereof, who performed their parts nobly, going continually from place to place encouraging and animating their men by their countenance, words, and their own travel and labour. Every thing being thus settled, the Marquis and others at rest, about midnight, the rebels, as if they designed to assault the city, discharged their artillery as thick as possible, but whether it was by the unskilfulness of the gunners, or whether they had taken money, (as some thought,) they did little damage, the bullets passing over the city. The Marshall, by reason of the continual alarms given by the watchmen, and the continuance of the discharge of the cannons, called up the Marquis, as he had ordered him to do, if any thing happened, who came presently into the market-place with his nobles and gentlemen, and entered into consultation how to provide better for the defence of the city, finding by the slow return of his soldiers, (which he began to perceive,) that they were not sufficient for the guard of so large a place; and by general advice it was agreed, that all the gates on the other side of the city from the enemy, and all the ruinous places of the walls, should be rampired up, concluding that there would not be wanting so many soldiers to defend the walls, but that the citizens might only watch them, and give notice in case of any danger that way; this was immediately put in execution, and near finished, when the whole rout of rebels came running with hideous shrieks and yells to the city, endeavouring to hew in pieces, and fire, the gates; some swimming over the river, climbed up the lowest places of the walls, others got in at the breaches, and so entered. The Marquis's men did all that was possible to repell them; the fight lasted above three hours continually, in which the noble courage of Bedingfield, Cornwalleis, Paston, &c. was very apparent, the rebels pushing forward to the utmost of their power, and being courageously resisted, were so desperate, that when they were thrust through their bodies or thighs, or their hamstrings cut asunder, though they were fallen down deadly wounded, would not give over, but half dead, drowned in their own and other men's blood, would till the last gasp strike at their adversaries, when their hands could scarce hold their weapons; but such was the bravery of the gentlemen and soldiers, that they were forced to retreat to their camp, having lost 300 of their fellows, who were killed in the city in this engagement; and now at last, being secure from any farther practices of the enemy, they went to rest for that little time that remained, proper for that purpose.
In the morning it was told the Marquis, that the courage and resolution of many of the rebels was much abated, and that they might be easily persuaded to lay down their arms if they were assured of pardon, there being no less than 4 or 5000 then waiting at Pockthorpgates, who on such promise would return home, and submit to the King's mercy; which information made him exceeding glad, but Norroy and a trumpeter being sent to the gate, not a person was found there; however, upon the sound of the trumpet, a great number came running down the hill; one Flotman being their principal, whom the trumpeter commanded to stand; Flotman demanded what the matter was, and why they drew them to parley by sound of trumpet, to whom Norroy replied, "Go thy waies, and tell thy company, from my Lord Marquess of Northampton, the King's Majesties lieutenant, that he commandeth them to cease from any further outrage, and if they will obey his commandment, all that is past shall be forgiven and pardoned." To which, Flotman, who was an outrageous busy fellow, of a voluble tongue ready for reproaches and arrogant speeches, presumptuously answered, 'that he cared not a pin's point for my Lord Marquess,' and like a traitour railed upon his Lordship, maintaining that he and the rest of the rebels were earnest defenders of the King's royal Majesty, and that they had not taken up arms against the King, but in his defence, and that time would make it appear, that they sought nothing more than to maintain his royal estate, the liberty of their country, and the safety of the commonwealth; and then utterly refusing the pardon, told Norroy positively, that they would either restore the commonwealth from the decay into which it was fallen, being oppressed through the tyranny and covetousness of the gentlemen, or else would die like men in the quarrel.
Scarce had he made an end, but an alarm was raised through the whole city, the general cry being, To arms! to arms! for at the instant these things were doing at Pockthorp-gates, the rebels brake in at the hospital meadows, and coming up Holme or Bishopgate-street, attacked the Marquis's ordnance, that was placed on St. Martin's plain, at the mouth or entrance thereof, in which place there ensued a sharp conflict between the rebels and the Marquis's men; there were slain of the rebels about 140, and great numbers wounded, and of the King's soldiers and city forces, about 50, or somewhat more, besides a great number wounded. This skirmish continued from about nine o'clock on Lammas day morn, being the first of August, till noon the same day; in which the miserable death of the Lord Sheffield was lamented and pitied of all men, (fn. 70) who more mindful of his birth and honour than of his own safety, desirous to show proof of his noble courage, entering among the thickest of his enemies, and fighting too boldly, though not so warily as was expedient, fell into a ditch or hole as he was turning his horse, and being compassed about with a great number of these horrible traitours, was there slain, although he declared who he was, and offered largely to the villains if they would have saved his life; and as he pulled of his helmet that it might appear who he was, a butcherly knave, one Fulke, who by occupation was both a carpenter and butcher, knocked him on the head with a club, and so killed him, of which he much vaunted afterwards, and so it came to be known who it was committed this barbarity, for which, afterwards, by the just judgment of God, the villain had his deserved reward; the place where he fell is distinguished by a large freestone laid there. (fn. 71)
"How was the Lord Sheffield handled among you, a noble gentleman and of good service, both fit for counsel in peace, and conduct in war, considering either the gravity of his wisdom, or the authority of his person, or his service to the common wealth, or the hope that all men had in him, or the need that England had of such, or among manie notablie good, his singular excellencie, or the favour that all men bare toward him, being loved of every man, and hated of no man?
"Ye slew him cruelly, who offered himself manfully, and would not so much as spare him for ransome, who was worthie for noblenesse, to have had honour, and hewed him bare, whom ye could not hurt, armed, and by slaverie, slew nobilitie, in deed, miserablie, in fashion, cruellie, in cause, develishlie. Oh! with what cruel spite was sundred, so noble a bodie, from so godlie a mind? whose death must rather be revenged than lamented, whose death was no lacke to himselfe, but his countrie, whose death might every way been better born than at a rebels hands. Violence is in all things hurtfull, but in life, horrible."
With him died divers other gentlemen and worthy soldiers, who were buried the same day with him, at St. Martin's on the Plain, which church is just by the place they fell, as I find by the parish register in these words, "1549, The Lord Sheffield (fn. 72) with thirty five others, were here buried 1 Aug.;" and among others Robert Wollvaston or Wolverston, who was appointed to keep the entrance into the cathedral, was killed by the same Fulke, who took him for Sir Edmund Knevet, against whom they bare great malice, because he gave them all the disturbance he possibly could.
The rebels, puffed up with the death of the Lord Sheffield, who was a person they greatly feared, by reason of the character he had for his great courage, making an alarm on every side, got into the city every way they could, and so overcharged the forces with numbers, being above twenty thousand to fifteen hundred, that they caused the Marquis and his people to give way, and forsake the city; every man making the best shift he could to save himself, either by speedy flight, or by hiding themselves in private places, as woods, groves, caves, and such like. But yet divers gentlemen of good account, as Bedingfield, Cornwaleis, and others, who remained behind, abiding the brunt, were taken prisoners, and kept in strict durance till the day of the rebels overthrow by the Earl of Warwick.
The Marquis being thus beaten out of Norwich, with the residue that escaped, hasted to London, leaving the city in the rebel's power: many of the chief citizens fled, leaving their wives, children, and all their possessions in their enemies hands, having hid their gold, jewels, silver, and good household stuff, in privies, wells, and pits digged in the ground.
After the Earl's departure the same day, they threw fire upon the tops of the houses, which flew from house to house with fearful flames, and in a small time consumed great part of the city; for all the houses in Holmstrete were consumed with fire on both sides thereof, with St. Giles's hospital, which was dedicated to the relief and maintenance of the diseased poor; Bishop-gates, Magdalen, Pockthorp, Berstreet-gates, and divers other buildings in many places were burnt; and had not the clouds by God's special providence commiserated the city's calamity, and melting into tears quenched the flames, the whole city had been laid in ashes, for the plenty of rain that fell then, in a great measure quenched the fire. The rebels entered the houses of such as were known to be wealthy, and thoroughly rifled them; in short, the state of the city was as miserable as can be expressed.
The mayor's deputy would not leave the city, but kept in his house, not daring to stir out, or attempt to stay them; and now another band brake in at St. Martin's-gates, and armed with clubs and such weapons as they could get, attempted to break open the deputy's house, and at last began to fire the door; upon which, being alone, his servants having fled from him, he opened it, and they immediately seized him, plucked off his gown, (which he used at that time,) calling him rebel, threatening him with a most shameful death, if he did not tell them where the Marquis of Northampton was hid; and though he positively assured them that he and all his company were gone, they ransacked every hole in the house, and taking what they found, went their way, laden with the spoil: but yet many of them, partly pacified for a piece of money and other things which they received of the deputy, and partly reproved for these wrongs, by some of credit among them, brought again such packs and burthens, as they had trussed up, and threw them into the shops of those houses out of which they had taken them before. Nevertheless, many were spoiled of all they had, by the rebels entering their houses, under pretence of seeking for the Marquis's men. But the houses of those that fled were quite ransacked, for they called them traitours, and enemies to their King and country, that had thus forsaken their houses in such time of necessity. Now some of the citizens ordering the furious multitude bread and drink, and all kind of victuals, the hungry wretches were somewhat appeased: but yet many sustained such injury, and were overcharged with such great expenses, that as long as they lived, they were forced to fare the worse for it in their household affairs.
The rebels by this time reduced from such extreme violence, began to think of their own safety, and commanded the deputy and chief of the city that were left in it, that watch and ward should be hourly kept at the gates and walls by the citizens themselves, threatening them with death if they omitted it. Moreover, whenever it rained, they would kenuel up themselves in the churches, abusing those holy places appointed for God's service and worship, with all manner of vile profanations.
And thus things continued till the 24th of August, being St. Bartholomew's day, when John Dudley Earl of Warwick, by the King's command, with a good force of soldiers raised in Lincolnshire and other shires of the kingdom, and also a good number of Switzers, which had been purposely provided for the Scotch war, entered Norwich. (fn. 73).
For his Majesty perceived, they were got to such a head, that without a main army, guided by a general of experience and conduct, it would be very hard to subdue them: and therefore this Earl, who was just appointed to go into Scotland against the French and Scots, was sent hither, whose manhood, courage, and experience in all warlike enterprises had been sufficiently tried and known, it being thought, if he could not suppress them, nobody could.
The Earl then, his army being ready, marched to Cambridge, where the Marquis of Northampton, desirous to be revenged for his late repulse, met him, being resolved to attend him, and try whether he could be more fortunate in following, than he had been in leading, and with him were many other gentlemen, with divers of the principal citizens of Norwich, the Lords Willoughby, Powes, and Bray, Ambrose Dudley, then son to, and afterward Earl of Warwick, and Rob. Dudley his brother, afterwards Earl of Leicester, Henry Willoughby, Esq. Sir Tho. Gresham, Sir Marmaduke Constable, Will. Devereux, son to the Lord Ferrers of Chertsey, Sir Edm. Knevet, Sir Tho. Palmer, Sir Andrew Flammock, and many other knights, squires, and gentlemen, who all tried their manhood, and behaved gallantly when time and occasion was given them.
The citizens meeting the Earl at the entrance of Cambridge, fell upon their knees at his feet, and weeping, earnestly entreated him to lay nothing to their charge, for they and all the chief of the city, were innocent, and guilty of no crime; yet they besought his favour and mercy, for they had verily conceived incredible grief for this miserable destruction and spoil of their city and country, and had further endured all extremity at the rebels hands, being obliged, for safety of their lives to fly the city, out of which they were forced by fire and sword, from their wives, children, and all their friends; and in this so great misery, they had this only to crave, that if in this common and exceeding fear, through ignorance or folly, they had unknowingly committed any offence, the same might not be imputed to them, but upon this their humble petition and repentance, it might be pardoned.
The Earl answered that he perceived how great peril they were in, and that without doubt great was the strength of those desperate men, who had driven them from all things as dear to them as life itself: affirming they had done nothing amiss to his knowledge, for in that they left the city, compelled by fear and such imminent danger, it was only an infirmity easily excusable. Notwithstanding, in one thing, he said, he imagined they were somewhat overseen, that they did not withstand resolutely those evils at the very beginning for he supposed a few valiant and wise men might have dispatche those companies in a moment, if they had attacked them resolutel at the first rise.
And now granting them all pardon, and assuring them of the King's favour, he commanded them to furnish themselves wit armour and weapons, and march forth with the army, wearing certai laces or ribands about their necks, to distinguish them from others.
The Earl marched directly from hence to Windham, and got thither on the 22d day of August, and as he came along, the most part of the Norfolk gentlemen, that were not imprisoned by the rebels, came to him, with which he was exceedingly pleased.
On the 23d day of August, he showed himself upon the plain between Norwich and Eaton wood, and lodged that night at Sir Tho. Gresham's seat at Intwood, about two miles from Norwich: on this plain the army rested that day and night, the men being all the while ready armed for battle, least the enemy should raise any sudden tumult, for they plainly perceived them in the walls and towers, endeavouring to make what defence they could.
While the army laid here, the Earl sent the aforesaid Norroy to summon the city, either to open the gates that he might quietly enter, or else look for war and a forcible assault, and such a reward as rebels deserve.
All this time Ket had been getting what power he could together, and consulting how to defend himself and his rascally crew; and when he was informed the herald was at the gates, he obliged Augustine Steward, the mayor's deputy, and Robert Rugg, who was mayor the next year, as two of the chiefest citizens, to go to him and know his errand; these being let out at Brazen-Door, and hearing his message, answered, "that they believed they were the miserablest men then living, having suffered such calamities as they could not but tremble at the remembrance of, and that now they could not fulfill their loialty to their prince, which brought them into the unhappy dilemma of either loosing their lives, or their good name, but hoped his Majesty would pardon them, as they had not consented to any thing of this rebellion; but with loss of goods, and peril of life, as far as it was in their power, had done their utmost to keep the citizens in good order and dutiful obedience. But one thing more they humbly requested of my Lord Warwick, that whereas there were great numbers of Ket's army poor and naked, running about the city without armour or weapon, which seemed as if they were weary of their doings, that it would please him once more to offer them the King's pardon, and they hoped it would be gladly accepted, that so any more bloodshed might be avoided." Norroy returned to the Earl, who fearing least the rebels should murder the gentlemen they had in prison, (fn. 74) if they came to a battle, resolved to try this way, and sent Norroy again, with a trumpet, to offer them a general pardon, who entering the city, met with about 40 of the rebels on horseback, and riding two and two together very pleasant and merry, they passed from St. Stephen's-gate, where he entered, unto Bishop-gate: the trumpeter there sounded, upon which the rebels flocked down the hill, and the horsemen ran swiftly to them, commanding them to divide themselves, and stand in order on either side of the way, and as Norroy and the trumpeter, with two of the chief citizens, entered between them, they were received on every side with great shouts and outcries, for every one uncovering their heads as it were with one mouth and consent, cried out, 'God save King Edward, God save King Edward!' Norroy and the two citizens highly commended them for so doing, desiring them to keep place and order, as they were commanded by their own men, which they did for a while: Norroy having got to the top of the hill, with his coat of arms on, as solemn ensigns of his office, stayed awhile for Ket, who was not yet come; and at last he began to remind them of the King's gracious goodness, who had several times by heralds and others promised them pardon, if they would return to their obedience, all which they had refused, and despised his messengers; he willed them to consider into what misery and decay they had brought that commonwealth, the good of which was so often in their mouths, and then discoursing of their horrible murders, riots, burnings, and other crimes, he desired them to consider into what abundant mischiefs they had brought themselves, and what they must expect from the wrath of God, and the King's army, now ready to execute it, and which they could not withstand, if they did not now accept of the King's gracious pardon, which he then by him offered to them all, assuring them that he had sent the Right Honourable the Earl of Warwick, a man of noble fame and approved valiancy, as his Lieutenant General, to persecute them with fire and sword, and not to desist till he had utterly subdued them, and revenged him on them for all their treasons and wickednesses, and he also told them, that the Earl designed to offer them pardon no more, if they now refused it.
Many of them were now touched with remorse, and began to fear the event of things, but the greater part were much offended at Norroy's speech, and began to prate that he was not the King's herald, but one set out by the gentlemen in such a gay coat, made of church vestments, (fn. 75) and things taken thence, to deceive them, under notion of pardon, and therefore it would be well done either to thrust him through with an arrow, or hang him up; others at the same time seemed to reverence him, and divers that had served in Scotland, and at Bulloign, assured their fellows that he was the King's herald indeed; upon which they pretended no more to offer him any injury, though they then said, instead of pardon, there was nothing prepared for them but a barrel full of halters. Norroy departing thence, and Ket with him, came to another place, and because the multitude was so great that he could not be heard by all from one place, he again made the same proclamation; before the end of which, a vile boy turned up his bare buttocks to him, with words as unseemly as his gesture was filthy, in reproach of his Majesty and his officer; which so moved one of the King's friends, (for some were come over the water to view things,) that he directly shot the boy through the body, upon the spot. Which when the rebels saw, a dozen of them came riding furiously out of the wood, crying, "Wee are betraied friends wee are betraied; if you look not about you: doo you not see how our fellowes are slaine with guns before our faces? this herald goeth about nothing else but to bring us in danger of some ambush that the gentlemen may kill and beat us all down at his pleasure. (fn. 76) And thereupon they all shrank away and fled as if they had been on of their wits. Nevertheless, the chief leader, Robert Ket, accom panied Norroy, designing, as was said, to have gone himself to the Earl of Warwick, and to have talked with him; but now when they were come almost to the bottom of the hill, (fn. 76) a multitude of the rebels came running, and crying to him, asking him whither he went, "we are ready (said they) to take such part as you do, be it never so bad," assuring him they would stand by him both in life and death, and that if he went any further, they would surely follow him. Upon which Norroy desired Ket to return with them into the camp, which he did, and they went back with him much appeased.
In the mean time, as the army laid before the city towards the south, came down certain to view it, and with them came both the mayor and Thomas Aldriche, (fn. 77) (who by policy were let out of the gate,) repairing to the Earl, and craving pardon, which they obtained, and were appointed to remain with them; now the Earl seeing nothing would avail but force, brought his army to St. Stephen's-gates, which the rebels had stopped up, and let down the portcullis, wherefore he commanded the master gunner to plant the ordnance, and beat down the gate for the soldiers to enter by; which while they were doing, the deputy informed the Earl, that not far off was a postern-gate, called the Brasen-Door, which though the enemy had fastened with great beams, and pieces of timber, and rampired up with earth and stones, might very easily be broke open; upon which the pioneers are sent for, who immediately opened it, and there the Earl's forces first entered, and slew those rebels that stood to defend it, and made the enemy retreat from thence; and in the interim, the master gunner had broken the portcullis of St. Stephen's-gates, and battered them half down, and the soldiers had made several breaches in the walls, between St. Stephen's and St. Giles's-gates, to enter by; (fn. 78) at these places the Marquis of Northampton, and Captain Drury, alias Poignard, a man of great valour, entered with their bands, and slew and wounded so many of their enemies, that the rest retired hastily to their camp; and by this time, by the good management of the deputy, St. Bennet or Westwick-gates were set wide open, through which the Earl of Warwick himself and his main army entered, and came into the market-place, without any resistance; here they took sixty of the rebels, and erecting a gallows by the Cross, hung them up; then the Earl presently commanded proclamation to be made through the whole city, that all the inhabitants should keep within, having their shops and doors fast barred, on pain of death: which was obeyed by all, except the son of one Wasey, a cobler, who with two or three more, were found in the market-place, and hanged up for their folly: this was wisely done, for thus the Earl knew who were concerned in the rebellion, and who not. Upon this many came and obtained pardon, and as they were commanded, barred up themselves, and thought they were well off. The Earl finding the marketplace very spacious, made it his head quarters. (fn. 79)
All this while, the carriages belonging to the army were entering at St. Bennet's-gates, and for want of order being given to the drivers where to stop, they ignorantly went through the whole city out at Bishop-gates, directly toward the enemy's camp at Moushold, which the rebels seeing, came down, seized on them, and carried them laden with guns, powder, and other ammunition, into their camp, greatly rejoicing, because they had no store of such things among them. However, Captain Drury coming up with his band, in good time, fortunately recovered some of the carts, not without slaughter on either side. (fn. 80)
The rebels being not yet fully driven out of the city; began to form a sort of camp on Tombland, and to lay wait in the lanes and cross streets, with intent to kill the Earl's men unawares, who by reason of the spaciousness of the city, were ignorant of the ways; some of them stood at St. Michael's at Plea, others at St. Simon's, others at St. Peter's of Hungate, and others in Wimer's-street by St. Andrew's church, ready for battle; and setting upon some of the Earl's men, slew three or four gentlemen, before any help could come; news being carried of it to the Earl in the market-place, he passed forward out of the market by St. John's of Maddermarket church, and turned into Wimer or St. Andrew's-street, with the main body of his forces, and when they were got to St. Andrew's church, the enemy let fly a cloud of arrows, but Captain Drury came a second time very opportunely with his band of harquebusiers, (fn. 81) young men of excellent courage and skill, who paid them so home with such a terrible volley of shot, that they fled in a moment, leaving 130 of their companions dead on the spot, and divers of them being found creeping in the churchyards, were taken and executed; all the rest fled to their camp, and the city was quite rid of them, to the great comfort of the inhabitants.
The Earl now began to give order to fortify the city, furnished the walls with soldiers and other munition, fit to repulse an enemy, placed a guard of armed soldiers in every street, blocked and rampired up all the gates, decayed walls, &c. except those next the enemy, (fn. 82) and out of Bishop-gate he placed great ordinance ready charged, to be conveyed next day to Mousehold.
But the rebels understanding the Earl wanted powder and other things belonging to the great ordnance, and seeing the Welshmen who were appointed to guard the artillery were few in number, and not able to resist any sudden force that should come down the hill upon them, they rushed altogether from the hill, attacked the guards, who, astonished at such an onset, were compelled by force to flee and leave the artillery a prey to the enemies, all which they carried into their camp; one Myles, a skilful gunner and bold rebel, watching his opportunity, shot the King's master gunner through the head, in this skirmish; this was a matter of great importance, for now the rebels were furnished with those very instruments of war that the Earl wanted, and Ket's gunners were continually discharging the cannons upon the city, and those iron balls, which they had taken, battered it most grievously, many being slain with the shot, great part of the wall and the tower on Bishop-gates were beat down; and had it not been (by God's providence) that the gunners were rash and ignorant, and levelled their ordinance too high, considering the hill they stood on, the city had been beaten down to the ground in a short time; but greater had this day's loss been, if Captain Drury by his valour, and slaughter of his men, had not put the rebels to flight, and by chasing them, recovered the greatest part of the provision they drove away. After this, Warwick rampired up all the gates, (fn. 83) placed armed guards at every corner and passage in the streets, brake down White Friars bridge to stop all communication that way, (fn. 84) appointed the Lord Willoughby, with a great number of soldiers, to defend Bishop-gate and that part of the city, and so provided against any sudden assault, and cut off all communication with the enemy. But notwithstanding this,
The next day, being the 25th of August, the rebels passed the river at Consford, burnt the most part of all the houses of two parishes, and many in the neighbouring ones, with all the granaries at the common stathe, (fn. 85) which, with the corn and other merchandises, there laid in readiness to send for exportation at Yarmouth, were quite consumed; the rebels intending either thus to burn the whole city, or if the Earl's forces had gone to extinguish the fire, then to have cast down the rampires, and opened the gates, and so to have distressed the scattered forces; but the Earl dreading it, let the fire go on till the citizens extinguished it, after an incredible damage.
Things falling out thus unfortunately on the Earl's side, there were some in the Earl's army, (fn. 86) who despairing of success, began to persuade him, that since the city was large, the walls and gates broken and burnt down, and their number of soldiers but few, (for as yet the appointed number, neither of English nor foreign forces were come,) that he would leave the city; the Earl being of a noble courage, and not able to bear the least spot of reproach, or lose the least honour, smartly answered, "Whie! and do your hearts fail you so soon? or are you so mad withall to think, that so long as life is in me I will consent to such dishonour? should I leave the city heaping up to myself and likewise to you, such shame and reproof as worthily might be reputed to us an infamy for ever? I will rather suffer whatever fire or sword can work against me;" and drawing his sword, the rest of the nobles with him did the same, then he commanded them to kiss one anothers swords, according to an ancient custom used in war, in time of great danger, and herewith they made a solemn vow, and bound it with an oath, never to leave the city till they had either vanquished the rebels or died in the fight manfully, for the honour of their King and country.
While this was doing, the rebels brake into the city on the north side, between Magdalen and Pockthorp-gates, where they were not suspected, but were repulsed by the soldiers, so that they run headlong back again, many being wounded, and several fell down and were slain, but not without the loss on the Earl's side of Mr. George Hastyngs, three of Captain Drury's gunners, and another gentleman, who were all buried at St. Martin's on the Plain, as were six others on the same day, in Mr. Spencer's garden, as that parish register informs us, (xxvj. Aug. 1549.)
The next day, being the 26th of Aug. 1400 Switzers, good and valiant soldiers, came from London and entered Norwich, and were received by the Earl's forces, with many vollies of shot for joy; they being divided by parishes, were liberally invited, and courteously entertained by the citizens, as the soldiers were, the whole time; the hearts of the people being revived, and the rebels confounded with fear, at this doubtful knowledge of their future overthrow. However, being ascertained that the next day they must fight it out, trusting to certain vain prophecies and superstitious rhymes that they had among them, which were rung in their ears every hour; as,
Such was their preposterous stupidity, in applying these equivocating prophecies to their delusion, (fn. 87) that believing Dussin's Dale must make a large and soft pillow for death to rest on, vainly apprehended themselves the upholsters to make, who proved only the stuffing to fill the same; fed therefore with this vain belief, they forsook that advantageous hill, that in a great measure had enabled them by its situation to do the damage that they had done, and where the Earl's horsemen would have been of little service: trusting in these follies for success, and resolving to end the matter before famine obliged them to disperse, for the Earl had so stopped up the passages that no victuals could come to their camp, and the want thereof began already to pinch them, they fired all their cabins, huts, and tents, which they had built of timber and bushes upon the hills, which almost darkened the sky with smoak, and with 20 ancients and ensigns of war, marched for the adjacent valley called by that name, (fn. 88) and there presently intrenched themselves, threw a ditch cross the high ways, and cut off all passage, pitching their javelins and stakes in the ground before them.
The Earl of Warwick perceiving their doings, the next day, being the 27th of August, (fn. 89) setting his army in order, he marched out at Coslany, now St. Martin's at the Oak gates, with the Marquis of Northampton, Willoughby, Powes, Bray, Ambrose Dudley, and the other noble and valiant gentlemen, a very choice company, the Almains, with Captain Drury's band, and all the horsemen, marching directly against the enemy. Yet before the army came in sight of the rebels, Sir Edm. Knevet, and Sir Tho. Palmer, Knts. were sent to acquaint them, that such was the incredible mercy of the King, that if they would still repent and lay down arms, he would freely grant his pardon to all except one or two of them; but all refused it. Upon which, the Earl having given orders to both horse and foot, gave the sign to begin the battle; the rebels perceiving the attack coming, placed all their gentlemen prisoners, bound with fetters, and chained together, in the front of the battle, to the end they might be killed by their own friends, who came to seek their deliverance; but now, though it be true as David saith, that The sword devoureth one as well as another, (fn. 90) yet so discreetly did Captain Drury charge the van of the rebels, that most of those innocent prisoners escaped. Miles, the rebeis master gunner, levelled a canon, and discharging it, struck the King's standard bearer through the thigh with an iron bullet, and the horse he rode on through the shoulder, so that both died, which so vexed the Earl and exasperated his army, that he caused a whole volley of artillery to be shot off at the rebels; and herewith Captain Drury, with his own band, and the Almains or lance knights (call them which you will) being on foot, getting near the enemies, saluted them so severely with their harquebut shot, and thrust forward upon them with their pikes so strongly, that they brake their ranks asunder, by which means the gentlemen prisoners shrank on one side, and most escaped their intended danger, though some few were slain by the Almans, and others, that knew not who they were. The Earl's light horsemen by this means came in so roundly, that the rebels, not able to abide their valiant charge, were put to flight, and ran away like a flock of sheep, and with the foremost their grand captain, Robert Ket, gallopped away as fast as his horse could carry him; the horsemen that chased, slew them in heaps, as fast as they overtook them, so that the chase continuing for three or four miles, there were slain at least three thousand five hundred, besides a great number that were wounded as they fled, seeking to escape out of danger. Thus, as Fuller says, rage was conquered by courage, rebellion by loyalty, and number by valour. Yet one part of them, the last litter of Ket's kennel, that had not been assailed at the first onset, seeing such slaughter made of their fellows, kept their ground by their ordnance, determining, as men desperate, not to die unrevenged, but to fight it out till the last; they were so enclosed with their carts, carriages, and trenches they had cast up, that it had been something dangerous to have assailed them within their strength. The Earl being merciful, a sure token of true bravery, sent Norroy with promise of pardon of life, if they would lay down their weapons, if not, he would destroy every one of them; they answered, that could they be sure of their lives, they would willingly do it, but took it only as a stratagem to get them into the gentlemen's hands, who, they well knew, would hang them all. Upon which, the Earl gets his army into battle array against them, and just before the onset sent to know whether, if he came himself and assured them of pardon, they would submit: to which they presently answered, they had such confidence in his honour, that if he would promise them the King's pardon, they would in an instant lay down their arms, and rely on his and the King's mercy. Upon which he went directly to them, ordered Norroy to read the Kings commission openly on the spot, because therein was pardon promised by the King, to all that would lay down their weapons: which being heard, they all thankfully cried, "God save King Edward! God save King Edward!" And so by the Earl's wisdom and compassion, were many saved and more bloodshed avoided.
Thus were the rebels subdued by the valiant Earl of Warwick, and the other nobles and gentlemen of the country, but not without loss of divers worthy persons, both gentlemen, and some of the chief citizens, in the beat of the fight, besides abundance of the meaner sort, namely, Henry Willoughby, Esq. of Willoughby in Nottinghamshire, son of Sir Edw. Willoughby of the same, and father of Francis Willoughby of Wollerton in the said county; a man so well beloved in his country, for his liberal housekeeping, great courtesy, upright dealing, assured stedfastness in friendship, and modest behaviour, that the county where he lived lamented his loss exceedingly. There fell also, Master Lucie, Esq. Giles Forster, Esq. and Master Throckmorton, gentlemen of no small worship in their countries, with Henry Wilby, Esq. Thomas Lynsye, Esq. and many others; four of these were buried in the chancel of St. Simon and Jude's church, according to that parish register; in which I read thus,
- - - Lusonn [or Lucie] of - - - besids Northampton, Esq. Thes 4 esquires were slayne in the King's army one Mushouldheath the Tewesday being the xxvij. daye of August 1549, Ano tercio Edwardi Sexti, and were all buryed in the channcell of this church in one grave."
The remaining rebels that submitted, and all those that were brought in prisoners, (which were very many,) to keep them from making head again, were confined this night under guards of soldiers in the publick buildings, and some churches of the city, by the provident command of the Earl, in order to receive judgment, and have their fines and amerciaments set on them for their heinous offences. (fn. 91)
The next day, being Aug. 28, tidings was brought the Earl, that the arch-rebel Ket, had rode so fast, that his horse tired, and fell down in the flight, and that creeping into a barn of one Mr. Richers of Swannington, two of his servants seized him, and carried him into their master's house, who kept him there in hold, for his Lordship; upon which, the Earl sent 20 horsemen immediately and brought him to Norwich: and the same day, the Earl, and others sat in judgment at the Castle, taking examinations to find who were the principal beginners and promoters of this unhappy rebellion: and divers being found guilty, nine of the principals (the two Kets excepted) were executed upon the oak of reformation, which never till then deserved that name; among which were two of their prophets, Bishop Rugg (fn. 92) and Wilse, and Miles the cunning cannoneer, who was much lamented, because remorse kept him from doing much mischief to the city, which his cunning enabled him to have done, being hanged, drawn, and quartered, (the usual death of traitours,) in this manner, they were first hanged up, then presently cut down, and falling on the earth, their privities were cut off, then their bowels pulled out alive, and cast into a fire, their heads cut off, and their bodies quartered; their heads being fixed on the tops of the city towers, and their quarters hung on the gates and other publick places, for a terrour to others; 30 were hanged, (fn. 93) drawn, and quartered at the gallows out of Magdalen-gates; in all about 300 were executed, of which 49 suffered in like manner at the gallows by the cross in the market. (fn. 94)
"There must be measure kept in all things, and especially in punishment with death, we ought to beware that we do not exceed: I know well such wicked doings deserve no small revenge; and that the offenders are worthy to be most sharply chastised: but yet how far shall we go? shall we not at last shew some mercy? is there no place for pardon? what shall we then do? shall we hold the plow our selves? and harrow our own lands?"
Now when information was laid against some of the chief rebels that surrendered to the Earl, that they were busy ringleaders, and some of the worst of them, and therefore ought to suffer; upon Norroy's telling him, that on the offer of pardon they first submitted, he declared, that none to whom he had given his promise of pardon should suffer. And this night the bodies of the slain were buried, least their smell should breed an infection.
On the day following, being the 29th of August, the Earl, Lords, and gentlemen, with the citizens, repaired to the church of St. Peter's Mancroft, and gave praises and thanks to God for their late success; and it was resolved that the 27th of August should be annually set apart as a day of thanksgiving in this city, for their great deliverance; which is entered in their city book (fn. 95) in this manner: "Be it remembred, that by the poure of allmightie God, and of our sovereign Lord the King's Majestie K. E. VI. In sending down the noble Erl of Warwike his Graces Lyeutenant with other nobills, and men of worshipp, with his majesties poure into this worshipfull cittie, and by the goodness of God upon the 27. August. A. D. 1549. The said Erl &c. uppon Musholde-Hethe vanequyshed Rob. Kette, and all his hool nomber of adherents of their most wicked rebellion, and ded suppresse them, and delivered this cittie from the great daunger, trouble, and peril it was in, like to have been lost for ever.
"Wherefore by the good advyce of the Lord Thomas [Thirlby] now Bishop of Norwich, with the assent of the mayor, shereves, &c. it is ordeyned and enacted, that from henceforth for ever, upon the 27th of August yerely, (fn. 96) for the benefyte that we obteyned for our delyveraunce that day, the mayor for the time being, shall commaunde his officers to gyve warnyng to every inhabitant in ther ward to sper and shut in their shoppes; and both man, woman, and child, to repaire to their parish churches, after they have rong in, at the houre of seven of the clokke in the morning, there to remayn in supplication, &c. and heryng divine service, and to gyve humble thankes to God, and pray for the King hartely, for that delivery of this cittie, &c. And the servyce once doon, that every parish ring a solempne peall with all there belles, to the land and praise of God, and the great rejoycing of the peopull for ever, and so to departe every man to his occupation or busynes, &c. God save the King."
The citizens, filled with no less joy than the Jews when they had escaped the sword of wicked Haman, (fn. 97) unanimously extolled Warwick for his great courage, attributing to his wisdom and good conduct the preservation of their lives and families, and all their possessions, setting up over the gates of the city, and their own gates and doors, the ragged staff, which was the cognizance or badge of that Earl. (fn. 98)
Robert Ket, and William Ket his brother, were carried to London, and comitted to the Tower, and being shortly after arraigned of their treason, and found guilty, were brought to the Tower again, and there remained till the 29th of November, on which day, they were delivered to Sir Edmund Windham, high sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, who brought them down, the one to Windham, and the other to Norwich, where de erved punishment was executed upon them both; for Robert Ket, the captain of these rebels, was carried to the castle, had chains put on him, and a rope being fixed about his neck, was drawn alive from the ground, up to the gibbet, placed upon the top of the castle, and there left hanging, in remembrance of his villany, till his body being consumed, at last fell down; and William his brother was executed in the same manner at Windham, on the top of the steeple there, (fn. 99) and was there hanged in chains as his brother was at Norwich: and thus by God's mercy, and the Earl's courage, this fearful rebellion ended; though it appears from the Book of the Court of Mayoralty, by the entries there made, between 1549 and 1554, that the rebellious stomachs of the common people here was not so soon brought down as their camp was dispersed.
30 Sept. Will. Mutton, painter, justified his having pulled down the P nthouses of the shops in Norwich, saying "That there was much dysceyte to buyers from them." The said Burnam being imprisoned, said to Mr. Mayor and the Aldermen, "Ye skrybes and pharasies ye seke innocent bloode, &c." for which at the following assizes he was adjudged to the pillory, and to have his ears nailed therto, as a fautor of rebels.
Edm. Johnson, labourer, being at the late Chapel in the Fields talking with Mr. Chancellor's servants, (fn. 100) it chanced that one Bosewell should say, "That Robert Kette should be hanged," and the said Johnson said, "That it shulde coste a thousande mens lives firste."
24th Nov. 3d Edward VI. John Rooke said, "Except the mercy of God, before Christmass, ye shall see as greate a campe upon mushold, as ever was, and if it be not thenne, it shall be in the spring of the yere, and they shall come out of the Lord Protectors (fn. 101) countrithe (countrey) to strenkith him."
12th Feb. 4th Edward VI. George Redman, servant with Mr. Bakon, deposed, "That John Redhed on Sonday at nyght beyng the xth of Febr. 1549, said, he wold that Master Bakon and others, having on there gates the ragged staff, schuld take them down, for ther were that are offendyd therwythe, to the nombre of twentie persons and more: and he said, that the aforesaid ragged staff shuld be plucked down: and that afore it were Lammes daye next comyng, that Ket shuld be plucked downe from the toppe of the castle; saying also, that it was not mete to have any more Kyngs than one."
John Redhed of St. Martin's parish worsted weaver, saith, "that upon a market day not a month passed, whether it was Wednesday or Saterday, he certenly knoweth not, being in the market uppon his busynes, he sawe ij or iij persones, men of the contrithe standing together, and he harde th' one of them speke to th' other, loking uppon Norwich castell towardes Kette, thes wordes, viz. Oh! Kette, God have mercye uppon thy sowie, and I trust in God that the Kyng's majestye, and his counsail shall be enformed ones betwixte this and Mydsomer even, that of their own gentylnes thowe shal be taken downe, by the grace of God, and buryed, and not hanged uppe for wynter store, and sette a quyetness in the realme, and the ragged staffe (fn. 102) shal be taken down also of their owne gentylnes from the gentylmens gates in this cittie, and to have no more King's arms but one within this cittie under Christ but K. Edward the syxe, God save his grace." which persones he saith, he never knewe them nor cannot name them.
Holinshed tells us, it was generally thought that Will. Ket had been sure of his pardon if he had not played the traitorous hypocrite, for upon his submission at first to the Marquis of Northampton, he was sent back to his brother, to persuade him and the rest to yield, who though he promised to do so, upon his coming into the camp, and seeing the great multitude about him, did not only dissuade him from it, but told him the Marquis had but few soldiers with him, and was nothing able to resist such a force as his: so that had it not been for him, his brother and all the rest had accepted the King's pardon, and saved all the ensuing mischief and bloodshed.
This Ket was, as Fuller observes, (fn. 103) of more wealth than the generality of those of his business; and could, as Stow says, (fn. 104) spend 50l. a year in land, and was worth in goods above a thousand marks, which is true; his family was one of the most ancient and flourishing families in Windham: for in 22d Edward IV. John Knyght, alias Kette, was a principal owner there; after his conviction, at a court held for the King's manor of Windham, it was presented, that Robert Knight, alias Kette, who was hanged upon Norwich castle for treason, died seized of 30 acres of land held of the manor, and that it was escheated to the King as lord, which he by Rob. Rochester, Esq. his supervisor, of his great clemency regranted to William Knight, alias Kette, son and heir of the said Robert, and his heirs for ever. (fn. 105) And Tho. Kett, son of this William, in 1570, had a grant from Queen Elizabeth of the liberty of faldage in Northwood Moore in Windham, for 21 years; and in 1606, Ric. Kett, alias Knightes, surrendered a messuage, &c. in the said town to John and Samuel Knightes, so that the family still continued and enjoyed their ancient patrimony.
The Earl staid in the city 14 days, (fn. 106) and having settled all things as well as could be, commanded them to repair their city, and act by virtue of the King's commission till their charter was renewed, it being voided, and the city in the King's hands from the time the sword was delivered to the Marquis; and so taking leave of them, was attended out of the city liberties by the mayor, &c. with great honour and much praise: and on the 7th or 8th day of September, he set out for London, where he was honourably received at court, with thanks from the King and nobles, for his great service.
And now they began to repair their gates, one of the folding doors of St. Stephen's was made new, Pockthorp and Bishop-gates were made of the timber which came from White Friars-bridge when it was pulled down: the tower at Bishop-gate, and the stone work at all of them, was repaired; Magdalen-gate was made new: BrazenDoor had the rampart taken from its outside and laid on each side in the ditch, to enlarge the passage; White Friars bridge was rebuilt of timber, to which Mr. Codd the mayor contributed much; the TownClose ditches, which were cast down by the rebels, were new ditched to 6l. 5s. 6d. expense. The boom or chain cross the river at the common stath was repaired; the houses and yards there cleared of a great quantity of burnt corn, rubbish, &c. and the weights that belonged to the crane-house, that was burnt there, got together; and the iron work of the gates that were burnt; the pinfold or pound that stood at Timbyrhill, the pales being torn off by the rebels, was now taken up, and the stuff sawn and made into two, one replaced there, and another set in St. Austin's, the most of that charge being born by Colson, a carpenter, and John Howman, who spoiled the said pinfold in the commotion time; the market place was cleansed, which was so full of dirt and muck, that it took two men twenty-four days each, and another man twelve days, in cleansing and loading of carts, for 248 loads were carried away; and it took another man twelve days to clean the Gild-hall rooms, chambers, leads, and prisons, from which twenty-four loads were carried, and a vast quantity from the Newhall, cloisters, &c. They mended the prison called the Vowte (or vault) under the Pentney, setting fast the window in the entry called Chapell a Feld, and that door that goes into the Pentney, and other things there. And having chose Rob. Rugg mayor, who served that office about four years only before, they agreed, that if he served now, he should not be chosen for ten years to come; and in some measure to recompense Leonard Sotherton for his great services, and losses that he sustained when he was robbed by the way riding for the King's pardon at Magdalen-tide, they present him with a sum of money: and finding a scarcity of corn like to ensue, (for famine generally follows war,) they ordered that every alderman should straitly charge each substantial citizen within his ward to provide corn for their own households presently, and not come into the market to buy any bread corn there: and some were appointed to buy in 20, some 30 combs of wheat, for which they should be repaid by the city at Michaelmas, as the Chamberlains Accounts, and other city evidences show us. And in November following, the King granted them a new Charter, (fn. 107) dated at Westminster the 12th of that month, in the 3d year of his reign; in which every prior charter is recited at length, beginning with that of Henry II. all which are hereby confirmed; then it authorises the citizens to choose two sheriffs within a month after its date, to continue till Michaelmas following, with the same liberties as they formerly had to elect mayors, &c. with a clause to use any liberties contained in any of their charters, notwithstanding any former disuser thereof. And remitted and released all and all manner of forfeitures of liberties, and all suits and demands which he or his successours had or might have, for any thing by them or any of them acted or done. This Charter cost 89l. 7s. 6d. the passing, and the expenses and journies about it 24l. 15s. Augustine Steward paying at London to the several officers there, 57l. 9s. of the money. And there having been no assembly for regular government of the city since the last of May, on the 20th day of November, being the day after the charter came down, was a general assembly held at the Gild-hall, "by vertue of the letters patents of the former Kings of "England, now renewed and confirmed by Edward VI." the said charter of confirmation being partly read, upon which it was concluded, that all the citizens should be monished by proclamation to be at the Gild-hall at nine o'clock, to elect "twoo worthy citizens for the office of Shereves," according to his Majesty's grant, and the court agreed to meet at eight in the morning at St. Peter's of Mancroft church, and hear a sermon preached by Dr. Baret, and the Te Deum there sung, and then to go to the Gild-hall and proceed to the election, where the mayor and aldermen elected Richard Fletcher, and the commons Rob. Farrour, who were sworn immediately.
|Cotes and Conduct,||6,446l.||12s.||2d.|
|Dyet and wages,||18,827l.||19s.||6d.|
|Emtions of necessaries,||47l.||11s.||8d.|
|Divers and sundry necessary charges and expences, breaking down of bridges, carriage, and reward.||2,008l.||4s.||3d. (fn. 108)|
And thus you have as exact an account of this rebellion as the evidences which I have seen, and the printed authors which I have met with, could furnish out, to which I have nothing more to add, but the description of it in Latin verse, which I have placed for my readers that understand that language, at the end of this King's reign, by itself, that may be no hinderance to my English readers.
And now the King having settled peace in the realm, to make some amends for the damage that this and several other cities sustained in their gates, walls, houses, publick buildings, &c. during the tumults; by act of parliament (fn. 109) remitted all the fee farms paid by any cities, burghs, and towns corporate, in England and Wales, for three years to come, on condition they bestowed them about repairing the walls, bridges, and setting the poor on work, and other good deeds in every place, (fn. 110) and also granted a free pardon and liberty for such subjects as were beyond sea, to return. And soon after passed an act for punishment of unlawful assemblies, and rising of the King's subjects, and another against fond and fantastical prophecies, invented to move, stir, and raise rebellion and disobedience among the common people, and one to punish vagabonds, and idle persons, great numbers of which swarmed about the realm. (fn. 111) And in the parliament held in the second and third years of his reign, it was enacted, "That no person or persons, shall at any time after the first day of April next coming, interrupt, deny, let, or disturb, any free mason, rough mason, carpenter, bricklayer, plaisterer, joyner, hard-hewer, sawyer, tiler, pavier, glasier, lime-burner, brick-maker, tile-maker, plummer, or labourer, born in this realm, or made denison to work in any of the said crafts, in any city, burough, or town corporate, with any person or person that will retain him or them, albeit the person or persons so retained, or any of them, do not inhabit or dwell in the city, borough, or town corporate, where he or they shall work, nor be free of the same city, borough or town, any statute, law, ordinance, or any thing whatsoever had or made to the contrary, in any wise notwithstanding; and that upon pain of forfeiture of vl. for every interruption or disturbance done contrary to this statute, the one moiety of every such forfeiture to be to the King and the other moiety thereof to be to him or them, that will sue for the same, in any of the King' courts of record, by bill, plaint, &c." (fn. 112)
But this, for the benefit of the city of London, was repealed by 3d Edward VI. cap. 20. (fn. 113)
In 1550, the city purchased a tenement and rents of Sir Edward Warner, of 5l. a year, with the money raised by sale of the messuage which Master Alan Percye, brother to the late old Earl of Northumberland, an inhabitant of this city, gave them, and by his own request settled it to repair the walls. (fn. 114)
An ordinance was also confirmed, that all parishes in the city should have ladders, buckets, and ropes for wells, in case of fire. Wheat was now 2s. 4d. a bushel in the market, and said to be 8s. 4d. at Harleston, a great price at that time, and a necessary consequence of these tumults: and now by the King's proclamation, every shilling (so much was the coin clipped and debased) was reduced to 6d. and every groat to 2d. (fn. 115)
And in this year, the court and commons had a grant of the late charnel-house, for a free-school, as it still  continues, as the common accounts say: but the letters patent of this Prince, to convert it to that use, are dated the 7th day of May, in the first year of his reign, Ao, 1548, (fn. 116) and the mistake of purchasing it now for 100 marks seems to come from that sum, being laid out by them upon it to fit it up for that use.
The King designed to visit the city about this time, for I find 20s paid to two of the King's guard for coming down and viewing of houses for the King's lodging against his Grace's progress to Nor wich. (fn. 117)
In 1551, wheat was fallen to about 7s. a comb, malt to 4s. 6d. barley to 4s. oats to 3s. beef to 18d. a stone, mutton to 15d. a quarter, butter to 3d. a pint, hard cheese to 2d. a pound: (fn. 118) which I observe, because it shows us plainly that the extravagant prices of all things in this county the last year, certainly proceeded from the consumption and riotous waste the rebels made the year before, and thereby injured the rich, and half starved themselves and their poor brethren.
This year was an act made, for the true making of woollen cloth in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, &c. in which their lengths, breadths, &c. are fixed. And another to continue the preservation and good making of hats, dornecks, and coverlets, at Norwich, which have of late years been begun to be practised there, to the good maintenance of great numbers of the poor citizens. And because many went and settled out of the city, in order to escape being subject to the laws and ordinances of their craft in the city, it was hereby enacted, that nobody should make any hats, or weave any dornecks or coverlets, unless in the city, or some corporate or market town in the county, except those of these businesses living in the town of Pulham in Norfolk, where the said businesses have been for some time followed, and all whatever, shall be licensed so to do, by the mayor, recorder, steward, and two justices of the peace of the said city, or four of them, or served seven years apprentice to such business, and if they take any money for admitting any persons to use the mysteries aforesaid, every one so offending shall forfeit 5l. half to the King, and half to him who will sue for the same. (fn. 119)
On the 15th of April 1551, the disease called Ephemera Britannica, Sudor Anglicus, the English sweat, or the sweating sickness, broke out first at Shrewsbury, and spreading by degrees all over the kingdom, ended its progress in the north about the beginning of October, described by the learned Caius, (fn. 120) to be a new, strange, and violent disease, for when it attacked any man, he either died or escaped in nine or ten hours; if he slept, to which all were then naturally inclined, he died in six hours, and if he took the least cold, in three; it raged among men of the strongest constitutions and years, few aged men, women, or children, being subject to it, or dying of it: but what was most strange was, that no foreigner which was then in England (four hundred French attending that ambassadour when it was hottest) died by it. (fn. 121) The English, as singled out, sickened and died of it in other countries, without any danger to the natives. It was first known among us in the beginning of the reign of Henry the Seventh, (fn. 122) but was not so violent as now, for 800 persons died of it in a week at London, and in a few days about 960 here. (fn. 123)
Baker saith, that the remedy found was, that if one was taken with it in the day, he was presently to lie down in his clothes, and never rise of twenty-four hours, and if in the night, not to rise at all during that time, and neither eat or drink, or at least but moderately.
In 1553, commissioners were sent out to take into the King's hands all church plate, vestments, money, and ornaments, to be sold, and the money delivered into Sir Edm. Pecham the treasurer's hands, leaving every church a cup and table cloth for the communion table, at the discretion of the commissioners, who mostly took care to purchase the plate themselves at an easy price, so that there was but few cups of any value left. But what by such purchases, and by the people's own substractions, who thought that they (who had by themselves or ancestors bought them) had better take them than the greedy commissioners; this spoil of the parish churches did not bring in the sum expected, for the greatest part of the prey came to other hands, insomuch that many private men's parlours were hung with altar cloths, their tables and beds were covered with vestments, instead of carpets, and many made carousing cups of the sacred chalices, as once Belshazzar celebrated his drunken feast, in the sanctified vessels of the temple. (fn. 124) This was in the months of April and May, and on the 6th of July following, the King departed this life at Greenwich, after he had reigned six years five months and odd days, being about the age of 16 years, but in this his youth, a prince of such virtue, learning, and sobriety, to give him his due, few, if any, have equalled, but none exceeded him.
Mayors and Sheriffs.
|1547, Rob. Leech 2.||Edw. (fn. 125) Dowsing, Will. Heade.|
|1548, Edm. Wood, ob.||Henry Bacon, John Atkins.|
|Will. Rogers 2.|
|1549, Tho. Codde.||Richard Fletcher, Will. Farrour, elected and sworn Nov. 20.|
|1550, Rob. Rugg 2.||Tho. Morley, John Walters.|
|1551, Ric. Davy.||John Aldrich, Tho. Grey.|
|1552, Tho. Cock.||John Norman, John Bungey.|
|1553, Hen. Crook.||Nic. Norgate, John Howse.|
Burgesses in Parliament.
Anglorum Prelia ab Anno Domini 1327, usque ad annum 1558, Authore Christophero Oclando, primò Scholæ Southwarkiensis propè Londinum, Dein Cheltennamensis, quæ sunt à Serenissimâ Suá Majestate fundatæ Moderatore.
Namque sub Eduardo dum summâ in pace reguntur Ruricolas stanni Devonia fertilis armat In regni satrapas, in religione sacratos Presbyteros: stulti neque sat rationes habebant Quidve velint, quidve, exposcant: compescuit ipsos Arma capessentis vi communitus equorum Graïus, et adjunctis paucis Russellius Heros Militibus, multo sed non sine sanguine victor.
Ecce alia exoritur regni plebs improba parte, Cui nec lex ulli curœ, nec cœlica jura, Nec potuit cohibere metú reverentia Regis. Arma manu cupiant, Socijs vim inferre parati, Omnia mistentes: clari despectui habentur Nobilitate viri, nulloque iguobile vulgus Consilio imperitat: fovet hoc Norfoleia Monstrum, Fama volat levibus sublata per Æthera pennis Eduardi Juvenis tener as ad Principis aures, Quosdam decivisse, fidem violando Rebelles.
Norvico veteri locus est conterminus Urbi Montosus, multis umbrosis consitus ornis, Huc se pestiferum pariter genus aggregat, ingens, Et plebis numerus totis consederat arvis, Lex talem fieri concursum justa vetabat: Censuit illustris Rex inclementiùs illos Tractandos: sed corda tamen mollissima Regis Parceret ut misero, flexit clementia, Vulgo. Ergo fit indignis delicti gratia, tantùm Pæmiteat culpœ: Signata Diplomata dantur. Rustica plebs surdis (quod dicitur) auribus heurit, A Rege oblatam contemnens cæca salutem: Ardet amore novæ miserâque Cupidine Pugnæ, Sicut inexpertus Belli, putat utile Bellum Dulceque, quod tandem serò gustabit, amarum. Arma igitur regni Procerum consensibus, arma Jure parabantur, Pedites, alijque superbis Expediuntur Equis: nomen communiter Hostis, Et patriæ et Regi tenet impia turba rebellis. Mittitur ad turbam violento Marte domandam Varvici Comes illustris, tùm corpore præstans, Tum pollens Animo, multarum doctus ab usu Pugnarum, quanto se animo ferus erigut Anglus, Prælia dum miscens infligit atrociter ictus.
Tertia jam totum lux illustraverat Orbem, Consedere suis castris Dudleius Heros Et socij, fortisqùe cohors quæ venit ab urbè Londino, propè Norvicum florentibus arvis. Quod, simul audierat plebs rustica, plena timoris Cæpit se densis Nemorum occultare latebris, Nusquam prorepens, postquam ijs audacia crevit, Tempore quo motæ cita perturbatio mentis Frangitur, irrumpunt: in apertam promptiùs itur Planiciem, nemo est visus memor esse pericli Instantis, junctis armati curribus omnes Stant circumsepti: Regis contra agmina magnis Procedunt animis, Cantu resonante tubarum. Pugna inter turmas committitur acris utrasque, Vulneribusqùe datis illos violentiùs urget Varvicensis atrox: tandem cùm cedere campo Hinc pudor haud sineret fugiendo pericula fædè, Illinc audaces faceret mors certa rebelles. Una repugnando pars occidit, altera summâ Non nisi vi superata cadit, sed fortiter obstat Hic dux Dudleïus, ne cunctos mactet ad unum Ingenio perverso homines, sed pectore magno, Quos campo ut fugerent, discrimina nulla movebant. Edicit missi præconis voce canorâ, Si quis spontè, sua quæ perfida ceperat arma Projiceret, veniamqùe volens, oraret ab illo, Inde domum immunis, veniâ donatus, abiret. Quod postquam auditum est, positis plebs protinus armis Agrestis, flexis genibus, veniamqùe precata est, Motaque mærore est, piscator ut assolet ictus. Tum Varvicensis comitis clementia tanta est, Mulctam flagitij suscepti, spontè remisit, Condon ans noxæ, quicquid fuit ante peractum. Jamqùe Gigantæi consors conaminis Anglus Nullus erat: Præstare fidem modò quisque paratus Extitit Edvardo Regi, patriæque fidelis.
This book of Nevile's was dedicated to Archbishop Parker, and had several editions, the best of which was published at London by Henry Binneman in 1675, in quarto, by whom it was republished in 8vo. Ao. 1682, and by royal authority joined to Ocland's Anglorum Prælia, or English Battles, the last being recommended by her Majesty's high commissioners ecclesiastical (according to an order received from the Privy Council) to all the bishops of the realm, to cause it to be read in all grammar and free-schools, in their several dioceses, with the treatise or appendix called "Alexandri Nevelli Kettus, concerning the peaceable government of the Queen's Majesty; both which treatises, the one for prose, and the other for verse, have been much commended, and are worthy to be read of all men, especially in common schools, where divers heathen poets are ordinarily read and taught, from which the youth of the realm do rather receive infection in manners, than advancement in virtue, as the Council were then pleased to say.