9. A Rebellion That Set the Stage For the Wars of the Roses
A royal army was sent to the suppress Jack Cade and his followers, but it was defeated in Kent. Emboldened by their victory, the insurrectionists’ rapidly increasing host marched on London. They captured the city on July 3rd, 1450, along with the hated royal treasurer, James Fiennes, Lord Saye and Sele, who was blamed for many policies that had rubbed the rebels the wrong way. They subjected their aristocratic captive to an impromptu trial, found him guilty, and executed him.
Despite Cade’s attempt to maintain discipline, many rebels took to looting once they entered London. Such lawlessness led Londoners to turn on the rebels, who were expelled from the city on July 6th, after a battle at London Bridge. To end the revolt, the government persuaded most rebels to disperse by issuing royal pardons. Cade fled, but was tracked down a week later, wounded in a skirmish with royal forces, and captured. He was taken to London, but died of his wounds en route, his death marked the end of the rebellion. The revolt failed, but it contributed to a breakdown of royal authority and prestige that set the stage for the Wars of the Roses, which erupted soon thereafter.