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The Cornish Rebellion of 1497

HENRY VII (1457-1509). King of England and lord Of Ireland. Father of Henry VIII.
Important Document Signed ['HR'] confirming the pardon of two of the Cornish rebels, 1 page 4to (oblong) on vellum with papered seal, 187 x 278 mm. (7¼ x 11 inches). Given at Shene, 22 June 23 Henry VII [1498].
A document of unusual historical interest, confirming the pardon of two of the Cornish rebels and commanding that their goods and chattels should be returned to them.
The Cornish Rebellion was a popular uprising of the people of Cornwall in protest at the imposition of war taxes by Henry VII to provide funds for his war with Scotland. The impoverished Cornish people, mostly miners, were particularly incensed that the taxation violated concessions granted to the Cornish people by Edward I. Led by Michael Joseph (An Gof) and Thomas Flamanck an army of 15,000 marched, rather haphazardly, to London where they were easily defeated by Henry's superior army in the Battle of Deptford Bridge (17 June 1497). The principal leaders of the revolt were hanged, drawn and quartered ten days later. Although severe penalties were imposed on the Cornish people, reducing them to poverty for many years, and some estates sized and handed to more loyal subjects, and although many prisoners were sold into slavery the bulk of the rebels being sent home.
'Henry by the grace of god king of England and of France and lord of Irland. To all Maires Sherriffes Bailliffes Escheates Constables and other our officers ministers and subgetts greeting. We late you ?wrote that at the humble submission of Aleyn Trevyns and henry his son of the p[ar]ishe of Saint Gwynabbe [Gwennap] in our countie of cornewaill. We have have pardonned remitted and Released unto theym almaner treasons Rebellions insurrections mesprisions and other offenses by thaym doon against us contrary to thar natural duties and liegeance and have of our ample grace graunted unto thaym thar lyves goodes and catailles. Whiche by reason of thair Rebellion were forfaited unto us. Wherfor we wol and straitly comaunde you and eny of you noon otherwise to entreate or demeane thesaid aleyn and henry but as our subgettes aught to bee. suffring thaym peasibly to have occupye and enioye thare said goodes and catalles without any lette or Interrupcion to the contrary according to theffect of these our l[ett]res. And if any p[er]sonne or p[er]sonnes have seased for us and in our name thaire said goodes and catailles or otherwise taken thaym we wol thay have undelayed restitucion of thesame. And that ye obeye this our comaundement. As ye entende to please us and wol avoide the contrarye. Geven under our signet at our manor of Shene the xxiith day of Junii. The xiiith yer of our Reigne.'
The document has at various times been erroneously dated to 1497 (endorsements to the recto and verso). The dating, however, is clear, and it is in any case improbable that the document would have been issued before the Rebellion was finally concluded and before the execution of An Gof and Flamanck.
[No: 22844]

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