Historical Memoranda of John Stowe: On Cade's rebellion (1450)

Three Fifteenth-Century Chronicles with Historical Memoranda by John Stowe. Originally published by Camden Society, London, 1880.

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'Historical Memoranda of John Stowe: On Cade's rebellion (1450)', in Three Fifteenth-Century Chronicles with Historical Memoranda by John Stowe, (London, 1880) pp. 94-103. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/camden-record-soc/vol28/pp94-103 [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section

Historical Memoranda In the Handwriting of John Stowe, From the Same MS.

A proclamation made by Jacke Cade, Capytayn of ye Rebelles in Kent. Anno m.iiijc.l. (fn. 1)

Thes be the poynts, causes, and myscheves of gaderynge and assemblinge of us the Kynges lege men of Kent, the iiij day of June, the yere of owr Lorde m.iiijc.l., the regne of our sovereyn Lorde the Kynge xxixti, the whiche we trust to All myghte God to remedy, withe the helpe and the grace of God and of owr soverayn lorde the kynge, and the pore commyns or Ingelond, and elles we shall dye there fore:

We, consyderyng that the kynge owre sovereyn lorde, by the insaciable covetows malicious pompes, and fals and of nowght browght up certeyn persones, and dayly and nyghtly is abowt his hynesse, and dayly enforme hym that good is evyll and evyll is good, as Scripture witnesseth, Ve vobis qui dicitis bonum malum et malum bonum.

Item, they sey that owre sovereyn lorde is a bove is lawys to his pleysewr, and he may make it and breke it has hym lyst, withe owt eny distinction. The contrary is trew, and elles he shuld not have sworn to kepe it, the whyche we conceyvyd for the hyghest poynt of treson that eny soget may do to make his prynce renn in perjury

Item, they sey that the commons of Inglond wolde fyrst dystroye the kunges fryndes and afftarwarde hym selff, and then brynge the Duke of Yorke to be kyng, so that by ther fals menys and lyes they make hym to hate and to distroy his frendys, and cherysythe his fals traytors. They calle themselves his frendys, and yf ther were no more reson in ye worlde to knowe, he may knowe they be not his fryndes by theyr covytysnes.

Item, they sey that the kyng shuld lyve upon his commons, and that ther bodyes and goods ben the kynges; the contrary is trew, for then nedyd hym nevar perlement to syt to aske good of his comonys.

Item, they sey that it were gret reproffe to the kynge to take ageyne that he hath gevyn, so that they woll not sufere hym to have his owne good, ne londe, ne forfeture, ne eny othar good but they aske it from hym, or ells they take bribes of othar to gett it for them.

Item, it ys to be remedied that the fals traytours wyll sofre no man to come to the kynges presens for no cawse with out bribes where none owght to be had, ne no bribery about the kynges persone, but that eny man myght have his comynge to hym to aske hym grace or jugement in such cas as the kynge may gyve.

Item, it is a hevy thynge that ye good Duke of Gloucestar was apechid of treson by o fals traytour alone and so sone was morderyd and myght never come to his answer; but the fals traytur Pole was apechyd by all the holl comyns of Ingelond, the whiche nombre passyd a quest of xxiiijm., and myght not be suffryd to dye as ye law wolde, but rather the sayd trayturs of the affinite of Pole that was as fals as Fortager (fn. 2) wolde that the kynge owre soverein lord shuld hold a batayll with in his owne realme to dystroy his pepyll and aftarward hym selffe.

Item, they say that whom ye kyng woll shall be traytur and whom he woll shall be non, and that apperyth hederto, for yf eny of the traytours about hym wolde malygne ageynst eny person, hyghe or low, they wolde fynd fals menys that he shuld dy a traytor for to have his londes and his goods, but they wyll sufer the kynge nethar to pay his dettes with all, ner pay for his vytaylls ner be the rychar of one peny.

Item, the law servyth of nowght ellys in thes days but for to do wrong, for nothyng is sped almost but false maters by coulour of the law for mede, drede, and favor, and so no remedy is had in ye cowrt of conscience in any wyse.

Item, we sey owr sovereyn lord may understond that his fals cowncell hath lost his law, his marchandyse is lost, his comon people is dystroyed, the see is lost, Fraunce is lost, the kynge hym selffe is so set that he may not pay for his mete nor drynke, and he owythe more then evar eny Kynge of Yngland owght, for dayly his traytours abowt hym wher eny thyng shuld come to hym by his lawes,. anon they aske it from hym.

Item, they aske jentylmens goodys and londes in Kent and call them rysers and traystors and the kynges enimys, but they shall be fond the kynges trew legemen and best frendys with the helpe of Jesu, to whom we cry day and nyght with many M. mo that God of his grace and rytwysnese shall take vengawnce and dystroy the fals govournors of his realme that hath brought us to nowght and in to myche sorowe and mysery.

Item, we wyll that all men knowe we blame not all the lordys, ne all tho that is about ye kyngs person, ne all jentyllmen ne yowmen, ne all men of lawe, ne all bysshopes, ne all prestys, but all suche as may be fownde gylty by just and trew enquery and by the law.

Item, we wyll that it be knone we wyll not robbe, ne reve, ne stelle, but that thes defautes be amendyd, and then we wyll go home; where fore we exort all the kyngys trew legemen to helpe us, to support us, for what so evar he be that wyll not that thes defawtes be amendyd, he is falser than a Jewe or Sarasyn, and we shall with as good wyll lyve and dye upon hym as apon a Jewe or a Sarasyn, for who is a genst us in this casse hym wyll we marke, for he is not the trewe kyngys legeman.

Item, his trewe comyns desyre that he wyll avoyd from hym all the fals progeny and affynyte of the Dewke of Suffolke, the which ben openly knowne, and that they be p[u]nyshyd afftar law of lond, and to take about his noble person his trew blode of his ryall realme, that is to say, the hyghe and myghty prynce the Duke of Yorke, exilyd from owre sovereyne lords person by the noysyng of the fals traytore the Duke of Suffolke and his affinite. Also to take about his person the myghte prynce, the Duke of Exceter, the Duke of Bokyngham, the Duke of Norffolke, and his trewe erlys and barons of his lond, and he shall be the rychest kynge crystyn.

Item, the trewe comyns desyryth the punyshement upon the fals traytours, the which conterfetyd and imagenyd the dethe of the hyghe and myghtfull and excellent prynce the Duke of Glowcester, the which is to mych to reherse, the which duke was proclaymyd at Bery openly in the parlement a traytur, upon the whiche qwaryll we purposse us to lyve and dye that it is fals; allso owre fadyr the cardenall, the good Duke of Exeter, the nobyll prynce the Duke of Warwyke, the wiche ware delyveryd by the same menys untrew; allso the realme of Fraunce lost, the duchy of Normandy, Gascon, and Gyan, and Anjoy demayn (fn. 3) lost by the same traytours, and owr trew lordys, knyghtes, and squyres, and many good yemen lost and wer sold or they went, the whiche is gret pyte and gret losse to our sovereyn Lord and to all the realme.

Item, they desyre that all the extorsiners myght be leyd downe, that is to say, ye grene wexe, the which is falsly used to the perpetwall hurt and distructyon of the trew comyns of Kent; also the extorsiners of the Kynges Benche, the which is ryght chargeable to all the comyns with owten provysyon of owr sovereyn lord and his trew cowncell.

Item, takynge of whet and othar greyns, beffe, motton and other vytayll, the which is inpotable hurt to the comyns, with out provysyon of owr sovereyn lord and his trew councell, for his comyns may no lengar bere it.

Item, the statute upon the laborers and the gret extorsiners of Kent, that is to sey, Slegge, Crowmer, Isle and Robert Est.

Item, where we meve and desyre that same (fn. 4) trew justyce wyth certeyn trew lords and knyghts may be sent in to Kent for to enqwere of all such traytors and brybors, and that the justice may do upon them trew jugement, what some evar they be; and that owr soverayn lorde dyrecte his lettars patentes to all the pepull ther universall opynly to be rede and cryed, that it is owre sovereyn lordys wyll and preyar of all his peple trewly to enquere of every mans govarnawnce and of defawtes that reygneth, nother for love, favor, dred ne hate, and that dewe jugement shalbe forthe with and ther upon. The kynge to kepe in his owne handes theyr londes and goodys, and not gyve them aweye to no man but kepe them for his rychesse, or ells owre soverayn lorde to make his emarme (fn. 5) in to Fraunce, or ells to pay his dettes; by this owr wrytynge ye may conceyve and se whether we be the fryndes ethar enimys.

Item, to syt upon this enq werye we refuse no juge except iij chefe juges, the which ben fals to beleve.

Item, they that be gylte wyll wrye ageynst this, but God wyll brynge them downe, and that they shall be ashamyd to speke ageynst reson, but they wyll go to the kynge and say that yf they be taken fro hym that we wyll put hym downe, for the traytours wyll lyve lenger, and yf we were disposed ageynst owr sovereyn lorde, as God it forbyd, what myght then the traytowrs helpe hym?

Item, thes defawtes thus dewly remedyd, and from hens forthe no man upon peyne of deth beyng abowt the kyngs person shall take no maner of brybe for eny byll of petysyons or caws spedynge or lettynge, owr sovereyn lord shall regne and rewle with gret worshipe, and have love of God and of his people, for he shall have so gret love of his people that he shall with Gods helpe conqwere where he wyll; and as for us, we shall be all weye redy to defend owr cuntre from all nacions with our owne goods, and to go withe owr sovereyne lorde where he wyll commaunde us, as his trew legemen.


Here folowythe a dyrge made by the comons of Kent in the tyme of ther rysynge, when Jake Cade was theyr cappitayn. (fn. 6)

In the moneth of May whan gres growes grene,
Fragrans in there floures with a swet savor,
Jake Napis in the see a maryner for to bene,
With his clogge and his cheyne to sell more tresowr.
Suche a thynge prykkyd hym, he axid a confessour.
Nycolas of the Towre (fn. 7) seyd I am redy here to se;
He was holde so hard, he passyd the same houre. (fn. 8)
For Jake Napes sowle placebo and dirige.

Who shall execute ye fest of solempnite
Bysshoppis and lords as gret reson is,
Monkes, chanons, and prestis, with all ye clergy,
Prayeth for hym that he may com to blys,
And that nevar such anothar come aftar this.
His interfectures blessid mot they be,
And graunt them to reygne with aungellis,
For Jake Napys sowle placebo and dirige.

Placebo, begynneth the Bishop of Hereforthe. (fn. 9)
Dilexi, quod ye Bisshop of Chester, (fn. 10) for my avaunse.
Hew michi, seyd Salysbery, (fn. 11) this game gothe ferforthe.
Ad Dominum cum tribularer, seyth ye Abbot of Glocester. (fn. 12)
Dominus custodit, thus seyth ye Bisshoppe of Rowchestre. (fn. 13)
Levavi oculos meos, seyth Frere Stanbery. (fn. 14)
Si iniquitates, seyth ye Bysshope of Worcestre. (fn. 15)
For Jake Napis sowle de profundis clamavi.

Opera manium (fn. 16)tuarum, seyth ye cardinall (fn. 17) wysely,
Hath wronge confitebor for all Jake Napis wisdome.
Audivi vocem, seyd Jhesus on hye.
Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
Now to this dyryge most we nedys come.
This joyfull tyme to sey brevely,
ix spalmes ix lessons to sey all and sum.
For Jake Napys sowlle placebo and dirige.

Executor of this office dirge for to synge,
Shall begynne ye Bisshope of Seynt As. (fn. 18)
Varba mea auribus, seythe the Abbot of Redynge,
For all our hope and joy is come to allas.
Convertere Domine, for us wantyth grace,
Thow Abbot of Seynt Albonys full sorely synge ye.
The Abbot of the Towre Hyll, with his fate face,
Tremelyth and quakythe, for Domine ne in furore.

Master Watyr Lyard (fn. 19) schall sey ne quando
The Abbes of Seynt Alborghe, (fn. 20)Domine Deus meus, in te speravi.
Requiem eternam, God grawnt hem to,
To sey a patar nostar, the Bysshop of Seynt Davi, (fn. 21)
For the sowles of thes wyse and wurthy,
Adam Molens, (fn. 22) Suffolke, Sir Robert Ros, (fn. 23) thes thre.
And specyally for Jake Napis sowlle that evar was sly
For his sowle placebo and dirige.

Rys up, Lord Say, and rede Parce michi, Domine,
Nichil enim sunt dies mei, that shalt thow singe.
The Bysshope of Carlyll (fn. 24) seyth credo videre
All fals traytors to come to evyall endynge,
Dwelle (fn. 25) thow shalt withe grete mornynge,
Rede Tedet animam meam vite mee,
Manus tue
, Danuyell, (fn. 26) thow shalt synge.
For Jake Napis sowle placebo and dirige.

Qui Lazarum resussistasti, Trevilyan (fn. 27) shall singe;
Hungerford, manus tue fecerunt me
Uby me abscondam
, for dred this day.
John Say Synge Dominus regit me;
Nichyll michi deerit for owt that I can se.
Ad te Domine levavi, Master Somerset shall rede.
John Pneycoke, Delycta juventutis mee,
Allas, whythar may I fle for dred?

Dominus illuminacio help, for now is ned.
Seyth Maystar Wyll Say, I trow it wyll not be.
Credo videre, Sir Thomas Stanle take hede.
For Jake Napis sowle placebo and dirige.
In memoria eterna, seythe Mayster Thomas Kent.
Now schall owre treson be cornicled for evar.
Patar nostar, seyd Mayster Gerveyse, we be all shent,
For so fals a company in Englond was nevar.

The Abbot of Barmundsey, full of lechery,
Quantas habeo iniquitatys take for thy lesson.
Gabull of the Chancery begynyth Hew michi,
That is his preve bande and detent of treson.
Homo natus de muliere, seyth ye Master of Sent Laurence,
Repletur multis miseriis, and that shall he wayll,
Of Jake Napes sort that hath don gret offence,
And ever whill he lyvyd cheffe of his counceyll.
Ne recorderys, Stephen Shegge (fn. 28) shall synge.
Quis michi tribuat for wichecraft, seyth Stace,
Domine, non secundum actum meum, for then shall I hynge
For Jake Napys sowle placebo and dirige.

Expectans expectavi, seyth Sir Thomas Hoo.
Complaceat tibi, begyneth John Hampton.
Beatus qui intelligit and drebit also,
Seyth John Fortescw, all this fals treson.
Sana Domine owre wittes with reson,
The Lorde Sudeley devoulty prayth.
Quem admodum desiderat,y e Lord Stowrton,
Sitivit anima mea, for hym lyeth.
The Lord Ryvers all onely seythe
Requiem eternam, God grawnt us to se.
A pater nostar there must be in feyth,
For Jake Napis Sowle Placeboand dirige.

Spiritus meus attenuabytur, Blakney shall begyn
Pecantem me cotidie, seyth Myners.
Pelle me consumptus carnibus (fn. 29) to the nynne,
Robart Horne, alderman, that shall be thy vers.
Requiem eternam or ther respons.
Phylip Malpas be thow redy to synge,
It wexyth derke, thow nedyst a scons,
Com forth, Jude, (fn. 30) for thow shalt in brynge.

Qare de vulva eduxisti?
Ser Thomas Tudnam, that rede ye.
Abbot of Westmystar, com, stond by
In thy myter and cope, and sey libera me.

Arys up, Thorp and Cantelowe, and stond ye togeder,
And synge Dies illa, dies ire.
Pulford and Hanley, that drownyd ye Duke of Gloucestar (fn. 31)
As two traytors shall synge ordentes anime. (fn. 32)
And all trew comyns ther to be bolde
To Sey Requiescant in pace.
For all the fals traytors that Engelond hath sold,
And for Jake Napis sowlle placebo and dirige.—Finis.

Amen. Writn owt of David Norcyn his booke by John Stowe.


  • 1. This heading is struck through with the pen, and below is written in small characters: "An other copi hathe 1460 at ye comyge in of ye Erles of Marche, Warwyke, and Sarum, with y° Lordes Faconbridge and Wenloke, from Calais to ye battayll at Northampton." But this note is likewise cancelled.
  • 2. Sic MS.
  • 3. Sic.
  • 4. "same." So in MS. for "some."
  • 5. So in MS.
  • 6. Another version of this satirical dirge has been printed by Ritson in his Ancient Songs and Ballads (p. 101, Hazlitt's edition), and by Wright in his Political Poems (ii. 232), from the contemporary Cottonian MS. Vespasian, B. xvi. f. l. But it consists only of nine stanzas, of which the first seven agree pretty nearly with the first seven in this transcript.
  • 7. Nicholas, of the Tower, was the name of the ship by which the Duke of Suffolk's vessel was stopped upon the sea.
  • 8. The Cott. version reads: "that he ne passede that hour."
  • 9. Richard Beauchamp, who was translated to Salisbury the same year.
  • 10. The Bishop of Chester, i. e. of Coventry and Lichfield, at the time was William Booth.
  • 11. William Ayscough, Bishop of Salisbury, who was murdered soon after Suffolk, 29 June, 1450. He was clerk of the Council to Henry VI.
  • 12. Reginald Butler, or Boulers, who was made Bishop of Hereford, 23 Dec. 1450.
  • 13. John Lowe.
  • 14. John Stanbury, a Carmelite, Provost of Eton, who was nominated by the King to the Bishopric of Norwich in 1445, but set aside by the Pope.
  • 15. John Carpenter.
  • 16. So in MS.
  • 17. John Kemp, Cardinal Archbishop of York.
  • 18. Thomas, Bishop of St. Asaph, whose surname is not known.
  • 19. He was Bishop of Norwich at this time, or else this is a namesake. A little later (1467) we find that a Walter Hert (undoubtedly the same name) was a Prebendary of St. Paul's.
  • 20. The Cott. MS. here reads "The Abbot of Westmystre."
  • 21. John Delabere.
  • 22. Adam Moleyns, Bishop of Chichester, who was murdered in Janurary 1450.
  • 23. He was associated with Bishop Moleyns in delivering up Maine to the French.
  • 24. Nicholas Close.
  • 25. "Dwelle." Probably a transcriber's error for "Dudley." The Cott. MS. reade: "The Baron of Dudley, with greate mornynge."
  • 26. Thoms Daniel, one of the most unpopular of the King's councillors.
  • 27. John Trevilian, alluded to as "the Cornish Chough" in another political poem.
  • 28. So in MS., but qu. Slegge? See p. 98.
  • 29. " Pelli meæ consumptis carnibus adhæ esit os."—Job xix.20.
  • 30. Probably John Judde, and officer of the ordnance to Henry VI, See stevenson's Wars of the English in France, ii. 512.
  • 31. This is a most extraordinary statement, as the Duke of Gloucester, whether mudered or not, certainly died in the bed.
  • 32. "orde'tesa'i'e," Ms.; qu "ardentes"? I can find no corresponding psalm or autiphon.