Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 245. WYAT'S REBELLION

245. WYAT'S REBELLION

            In this mean while Cardinal Pole, being sent for by Queen Mary, was by the emperor requested to stay with him, to the intent (as some think) that his presence in England should not be a let to the marriage which he intended between Philip his son, and Queen Mary. For the making whereof be sent a most ample ambassade, with full power to make up the marriage betwixt them; which took such success, that after they had communed of the matters a few days, they knit up the knot.

            The thirteenth of January, 1554, Dr. Crome, for his preaching upon Christmas day without licence, was committed to the Fleet.

            The twenty-first of January, Master Thomas Wootton, esquire, was, for matters of religion, committed to the Fleet close prisoner.

            This mention of marriage was about the beginning of January, and was very evil taken of the people, and of many of the nobility, who, for this and for religion, conspiring among themselves, made a rebellion, whereof Sir Thomas Wyat, knight, was one of the chief beginners; who, being in Kent, said, (as many else perceived,) that the queen and the council would, by foreign marriage, bring upon this realm most miserable servitude, and establish popish religion. About the twenty-fifth of January news came to London of this stir in Kent, and shortly after of the duke of Suffolk, who was fled into Warwickshire and Leicestershire, there to gather a power. The queen therefore caused them both, with the Carews of Devonshire, to be proclaimed traitors; and sent into Kent against Wyat, Thomas, duke of Norfolk, who, being about Rochester bridge forsaken of them that went with him, returned safe to London without any more harm done to him, and without bloodshed on either part.

            Furthermore, to apprehend the Duke of Suffolk, being fled into Warwickshire, was sent the earl of Huntingdon in post, who, entering the city of Coventry before the duke, disappointed him of his purpose. Wherefore the duke, in great distress, committed himself to the keeping of a servant of his, named Underwood, in Astley Park, who, like a false traitor, betrayed him. And so he was brought up to the Tower of London.

            In the mean while Sir Peter Carew, hearing of that was done, fled into France; but the others were taken, and Wyat came towards London in the beginning of February. The queen, hearing of Wyat s coming, came into the city to the Guildhall, where she made a vehement oration against Wyat; the contents (at least the effect) whereof here followeth, as near as out of her own mouth could be penned.

            "I am come unto you in mine own person, to tell you that, which already you see and know; that is, how traitorously and rebelliously a number of Kentishmen have assembled themselves against both us and you. Their pretence (as they said at the first) was for a marriage determined for us: to the which, and to all the articles thereof, ye have been made privy. But since, we have caused certain of our privy council to go again unto them, and to demand the cause of this their rebellion; and it appeared then unto our said council, that the matter of the marriage seemed to be but a Spanish cloak to cover their pretended purpose against our religion; for that they arrogantly and traitorously demanded to have the governance of our person, the keeping of the Tower, and the placing of our councillors.

            "Now, loving subjects, what I am ye right well know. I am your queen, to whom at my coronation, when I was wedded to the realm and laws of the same, (the spousal ring whereof I have on my finger, which never hitherto was, nor hereafter shall he, left off,) you promised your allegiance and obedience unto me. And that I am the right and true inheritor of the crown of this realm of England, I take all Christendom to witness. My father, as ye all know, possessed the same regal state, which now rightly is descended unto me: and to him always ye showed yourselves most faithful and loving subjects; and therefore I doubt not, but ye will show yourselves [such] likewise to me, and that ye will not suffer a vile traitor to have the order and governance of our person, and to occupy our estate, especially being so vile a traitor as Wyat is; who most certainly, as he hath abused mine ignorant subjects which be on his side, so doth he intend and purpose the destruction of you, and spoil of your goods. And I say to you, on the word of a prince, I cannot tell how naturally the mother loveth the child, for I was never the mother of any; but certainly, if a prince and governor may as naturally and earnestly love her subjects, as the mother doth love the child, then assure yourselves, that I, being your lady and mistress, do as earnestly and tenderly love and favour you. And I, thus loving you, cannot but think that ye as heartily and faithfully love me; and then I doubt not but we shall give these rebels a short and speedy overthrow.

            "As concerning the marriage, ye shall understand that I enterprised not the doing thereof without advice, and that by the advice of all our privy council, who so considered and weighed the great commodities that might ensue thereof, that they not only thought it very honourable, but also expedient, both for the wealth of the realm, and also of you our subjects. And as touching myself, I assure you, I am not so bent to my will, neither so precise nor affectionate, that either for mine own pleasure I would choose where I list, or that I am so desirous, as needs I would have one. For God, I thank him, to whom be the praise therefore, I have hitherto lived a virgin, and doubt nothing, but with God's grace, I am able so to live still. But if, as my progenitors have done before, it may please God that I might leave some fruit of my body behind me, to be your governor, I trust you would not only rejoice thereat, but also I know it would be to your great comfort. And certainly, if I either did think or know, that this marriage were to the hurt of any of you my commons, or to the impeachment of any part or parcel of the royal state of this realm of England, I would never consent thereunto, neither would I ever marry while I lived. And on the word of a queen, I promise you, that if it shall not probably appear to all the nobility and commons in the high court of parliament, that this marriage shall be for the high benefit and commodity of the whole realm, then will I abstain from marriage while I live.

            "And now, good subjects, pluck up your hearts, and, like true men, stand fast against these rebels, both our enemies and yours, and fear them not; for I assure you, I fear them nothing at all. And I will leave with you my Lord Howard, and my lord treasurer, who shall be assistants with the mayor for your defence."

            Here is to be noted, that at the coming of Queen Mary to the Guildhall, it being bruited before, that she was coming with harnessed men, such a fear came among them, that a number of the Londoners, fearing lest they should be there entrapped and put to death, made out of the gate before her entering in. Furthermore note, that when she had ended her oration, (which she seemed to have perfectly conned without book,) Winchester, standing by her, when the oration was done, with great admiration cried to the people, "Oh how happy are we, to whom God hath given such a wise and learned prince!" &c.

            Two days after, which was the third of February, the Lord Cobham was committed to the Tower, and Master Wyat entered into Southwark, who, forasmuch as he could not enter that way into London, returning another way by Kingston with his army, came up through the streets into Ludgate, and returning thence was resisted at Temple-bar, and there yielded himself to Sir Clement Parson, and so was brought by him to the court, and with him the residue of his army (for before, Sir George Harper and almost half of his men ran away from him at Kingston bridge) were also taken, and about a hundred killed, and they that were taken were had to prison, and a great many of them were hanged, and he himself afterward executed at the Tower Hill, and then quartered; whose head, after being set up upon Hay Hill, was thence stolen away, and great search made for the same: of which story ye shall hear more (the Lord willing) hereafter.

Illustration -- Thomas Wyat on the Scaffold

 

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