"Let's kill all the lawyers" - Jack Cade’s rebellion against King Henry VI

8 May 1450, Jack Cade’s rebellion against King Henry VI began in Kent
“Cade: I thank you, good people—there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score, and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord. Dick: The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. Cade: Nay, that I mean to do” (William Shakespeare, “Henry The Sixth, Part 2”)

An imagination of Jack Cade’s fight on London Bridge that ended in his eviction from the city on 8 July 1450 around 10pm, costing the lives of 40 Londoners and 200 rebels 

Incompetent rulers, unfair taxation, rampant corruption and the economy in ruins – Jack Cade’s “Complaint of the Poor Commons of Kent” reads like an Occupy movement’s polemic. The political and economic situation in Henry VI’s merry old England on the eve of the Wars of the Roses was indeed disastrous and together with soldiers returning from the wars in France, thousands of peasants, shopkeepers and artisans gathered in Blackheath to march on London. By June, royal forces sent to stop them were ambushed and massacred at Sevenoaks, the king fled to Warwickshire and on July 3rd 1450, Jack Cade and his followers fought their way into the city of London.

"Lord Saye and Sele brought before Jack Cade 4th July 1450"

The Rebellion was the beginning of the end of House Lancaster. It might be malicious gossip that Jack Cade was actually a relative of Richard Plantagenet, the 3rd Duke of York, King Henry’s rival. Jack, however, dubbed himself Mortimer after the Duke’s mother when the unrest broke out in Kent. When the whole thing failed after the rebels had made themselves rather unpopular with the good people of London, with rioting and looting, and were thrown out of the city by a combined effort of the militia and the burghers, at least a royal pardon was issued, for the survivors as well as Jack Mortimer, née Cade. As soon as the authorities discovered that the ”Captain of Kent” had operated under a false name, the pardon was revoked, Jack fled and was brought to bay by the High Sheriff of Kent. He died of his wounds, was ritually decapitated in Newgate and his head impaled on a pike on London Bridge. A few weeks later, Richard of York returned from his exile in Ireland, issuing demands based on those made by Jack Cade – the first open fighting of the Wars of the Roses broke out in 1455.

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