On this day : The 27th of August 1549

Battle of Dussindale

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The Battle of Dussindale outside Norwich (the precise spot much debated) ended the peasant rebellion led by Robert Kett, sparked by discontent over the enclosure of ancient common lands to graze the sheep of the rich.
Kett was himself a wealthy landowner (having made money as a tanner) guilty of enclosing such lands around his manor of Wymondham . A protest that began on July 6 led to Kett’s own enclosure fences being torn down. Kett joined in the destruction and was soon directing more, followed by a march on Norwich . He imposed discipline on a mob that eventually numbered about 16,000, camping on Mousehold Heath and eventually taking the city by force. They defeated an army of 1500 men led by the ineffective William Parr before London saw the danger and sent another of 14000, including mercenaries from Germany and Spain, with experienced commander John Dudley the Earl of Warwick at its head.
Warwick advanced on the city on August 27, eventually drawing the rebels out of the streets and alleyways suited to their weaponry and into open country. However steadfast the rebels were, defeat was inevitable, prompted by Dudley’s offer of a general pardon.
In spite of the pardon many of the leaders were swiftly hanged. Kett escaped but was captured at Swannington. He and his brother William were tortured in Norwich Castle then taken to the Tower of London . Tried and found guilty of treason, they were returned to Norfolk for cruel and exemplary public execution: Robert was hanged in chains from Norwich Castle’s battlements; his brother from the tower of Wymondham Abbey . Both took days to die; their bodies left until they rotted away.

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