7th December, 1549

07/12/2018 all-day

Robert and William Kett were executed for treason. Robert, a Wymondham landowner, had led a huge peasant rebellion in Norfolk that summer which had shaken the Tudor regime to its foundations.

The Ketts took up the cause of the people, whose common land was being enclosed to create large and profitable farms. Eventually he led a force of up to 10,000 rebels to Norwich, where they massed on the heights of Mousehold Heath above the city.

When they failed to obtain guarantees that enclosure would be stopped, they crossed the river and defeated government forces. The rebels briefly seized the city.

Eventually, the Duke of Northumberland, who governed the country on behalf of the boy King Edward VI, raised fresh forces, partially consisting of mercenaries hired from continental Europe. The poorly armed peasant levies were not match for these professionals. They were defeated with great loss of life, most likely in an area outside Norwich called Dussindale.

The Kett brothers were taken prisoner. They were tried for treason in London, and returned to Norfolk for execution. Robert was hanged in chains from Norwich Castle – a cruel device intended to prolong the agony – while William suffered the same fate at Wymondham Abbey.