To what extent did Tudor rebellions have similar causes?
Tudor rebellions were caused by one or more of the following factors: dynastic, political, religious, and social and economic. There was an element of both similarity and continuity in the period as most of the rebellions were politically motivated starting with Warbeck’s rebellion in 1491 until the end of the period with Essex’s rebellion in 1601. This displays clear political motives across the period. During the reign of Henry VII, many of the rebellions were dynastically motivated with a series of challenges from pretenders to the throne, Simnel and Warbeck and rebellions due to heavy taxation; Yorkshire and Cornish anti tax riots. However, by the reign of Elizabeth, religion became a factor for rebellions particularly at the turning point of 1532; the Reformation. Post reformation, Elizabeth faced a different type of challenge from nobility who were angered by the Tudor centralisation of government. Although the other factors are present, political, remains a consistent, underlying factor throughout the period.
During Henry VII’s reign, there were two strong dynastically motivated challenges to the crown. Simnel and Warbeck in both 1486 and 1491 were both direct challenges to the throne. However, after the imprisonment of Edmund de La Pole in 1506 the Tudor rebellions changed from being direct challenges to the throne to indirect challenges against ‘evil misters’ for example the Amicable Grant in 1525. Henry VIII’s reign was a turning point in the Tudor period as it signified an end to Yorkist pretenders to the throne and it was at this point that the idea of regicide became abhorrent and people began to accept the monarchy and wanted only stability. Henry VIII was more popular than his father and had appeased the nobility thus meaning that in his reign there were no direct challenges to his throne. Nevertheless, dynasty was still a cause of Tudor rebellions but was replaced by succession especially as Henry VIII did not have an heir and he himself did not have a legitimate claim to the throne. This occurred with the political coup of Lady Jane Grey in 1553 and Wyatt’s rebellion in 1554 because of Henry VIII’s reinstatement of both Mary and Elizabeth who had both been previously removed from succession. The treason acts help to reduce rebellion as it became easier to convict people of treason but by the end of the period the Tudor dynasty itself was far more secure meaning that Wyatt never made public his desire to overthrow Mary as the Tudor regime was now accepted.