Can you help bring Robert Kett’s anti enclosure rebellion to the stage?

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Mar 12 00:56:46 GMT 2015

Common Lot / Crude Apache - put a truly brilliant 
musical play together back in 1999
I remember it well - they were based in Norwich I believe
Flashback to July 1999 below the recent news article with all details

Can you help bring Kett’s rebellion to life on 
stage? Call goes out to help tell tale of hero once seen as a traitor
  Robert Kett, under the Oak of Reformation at 
his Great Camp on Mousehold Heath, Norwich, 
receives the Earl of Warwick's Herald, August 22 
1549. Painting by Samuel Wale (1721-1786), oil on 
canvas, about 1740s Picture in the Bridewell Museum, Norwich

Lauren Cope  Tuesday, March 3, 2015

He was a revolutionary who set aside his 
privileged position to fight for the rights of countrymen around England.

The 2008 bid for a pardon

In October 2008, then Norwich North MP Ian Gibson 
put forward an early day motion in Parliament to pardon the brothers.

The motion read: “That this House praises Robert 
and William Kett who were both executed on 7th 
December 1549 for being leaders of the Norfolk 
Rebellion under the reign of King Edward VI; 
recognises these courageous leaders for their 
contribution to the long struggle of the common 
people of England to escape from a servile life 
into the freedom of just conditions; and calls on 
the Government to recognise that both men were not traitors as charged.”

However, the motion failed to attract any 
signatures and therefore did not go any further.

But Robert Kett is often remembered as a traitor, 
with the end of the his 1549 rebellion against 
enclosure made a holiday by the authorities in Norwich in 1550.

Now, actors, directors, publicists and costume 
designers are being sought to help bring the 
uprising to life on stage – a performance some 
hope could see the Wymondham man pardoned by the government.

Playwright Chris Joby, of Keswick, penned the 
play on the Norfolk Rising over the last six 
years and turned to the Kett Society to help.

Georgina Moles, society secretary, said: “Kett’s 
story seems to have gone under the radar in 
Norwich – he is better remembered in Wymondham.

The Battle of Dussin's Dale Picture taken from 
"An Unlikely Rebel" Robert Kett and the Norfolk 
Rising 1549 by Adrian Hoare. Permission given by 
Archant Library for re-sale. Photograph C10635

“Norwich seems to have a bit of a guilty 
conscience – they hanged him from the castle and 
celebrated his death. We are looking to raise him up a little bit.”

The show would be staged at Wymondham Central 
Hall later this year, and has the backing of 
former Norwich North MP Dr Ian Gibson, who, in 
2008, unsuccessfully put forward a motion to get 
the government to overturn his conviction.

• Kett’s rebellion - the story

The 1540s saw a crisis in agriculture in England, 
with the main grievance the issue of enclosure – 
the fencing-off of common land by landlords for 
their own use, which left peasants with nowhere to graze their animals.

Chris Joby from Keswick who has written a play 
about Robert Kett. Photo by Simon Finlay

The rebellion began in July 1549 in Wymondham, 
when a group of people set off to Morley St 
Botolph and Hethersett to tear down hedges and 
fences. Landowner Sir John Flowerdew bribed 
rioters to leave his enclosure alone and instead attack those of Robert Kett.

Having listened to the rioters’ grievances, Kett, 
joined by brother William, decided to join their 
cause, helping them tear down his own fences and 
then destroying Sir John’s. Kett became leader of 
the group and designated an oak tree, now known 
as Kett’s Oak, on the road between Hethersett and 
Norwich as their meeting point. The rebels 
marched through Norwich to reach Mousehold Heath, 
where they set up their camp for the next 
six-and-a-half weeks. They drew up a list of 29 grievances, signed by Kett.

Some 15,000 rebels eventually gathered there and 
they battled against government forces in 
Norwich, until an army of 13,000 men commanded by 
the Earl of Warwick forced the rebels back to the 
Heath. The rebels then retreated further to an 
area outside the city called Dussindale but were 
caught up by the army of Warwick - hundreds of peasants were killed.

Kett himself was imprisoned and hanged from the 
battlements of Norwich Castle on December 7, the 
same day his brother was hanged from Wymondham Abbey.

•If you think you can help bring the show to 
life, contact Mrs Moles on secretary at

1549 - the story of Kett's Rebellion

  Summer 1994 saw Norwich City Council promoting 
outdoor theatre, so we decided to produce a large 
scale dramatisation of the story of Ketts 
rebellion. Conceived as something akin to 
pantomime, and blessed by glorious summer 
weather, we had another success on our hands.

The press release read:-

Rabble-rousing and revolution come to the Norwich 
parks this summer, when acclaimed new theatre 
company Crude apache breathe new life into the 
story of Kett's rebellion. Grotesque and 
hilarious caricatures, song, mime and movement 
combine in a tragi-comic tale of Kett's revolt 
against land enclosure and the peasant's march on 
Norwich in the summer of 1549. The 90 minute long 
free show, in which the spectators are encouraged 
to abuse the villains and shout advice to the ill 
fated rebels, is suitable for all ages. The Story 
Of Ketts Rebellion, with its sharp lampooning of 
authority, original acoustic music and poignant 
message about poverty and the tragedy of war, 
will be storming the City Walls from July 8th.

  The cast was:-

The Rebels:

Jerry Ferley
Tom Carver
Rachel Hardy
Ian Brownlie
The Men of Norwich:

John Flowerdew/Mayor Thos. Codd:
Jo Edye
Miss Smythe:
Kathryn Floyd
Godfrey/Augustine Steward:
Tracy Mavor
Duncan Jack
The Men of London:

York Herald:
Duncan Jack
Marquis of Northampton:
Paul McNiell
Gilbert Dethick, Kings Herald:
Kathryn Floyd
Captain Drury:
Jo Edye
Earl of Warwick:
Peta Morrant
The Narrators:

Professor Burke:
Dave Popkin
Farmer Bumpstead:
Simon Floyd
The Musicians:

Saff Edye & Caroline Davison
Bill Jones
Pip Cartwright
John Adam.
The Producers:

Directed, devised & written by:
Simon Floyd, Dave Popkin & the cast
Music by:
Bill Jones
Costumes by:
the cast
Stage Manager:
Paul McNeill
Songs written & arranged by:
Bill Jones, Saff Edye, Dave Popkin & Simon Floyd
  Directors Dave Popkin and Simon Floyd wrote in their programme notes:-

"In the summer of 1549, Norwich witnessed a 
rising of thousands of small farmers and local 
peasantry against the greed and corruption of 
local government and a new breed of landed 
gentry. Had it proved successful, it would have 
changed the pattern of our society to no small degree.
  Very few of us have not heard the name Robert 
Kett somewhere, be it from school, a local guide 
book, or a pub sign or street name. The story of 
Ketts rebellion is deeply embedded in Norfolk 
folklore. Through the years, it has been the 
subject of much scrutiny, and the inspiration for 
many works of fiction. In retelling the story, we 
have looked closely at this material, and by 
necessity have omited certain events, while 
focusing closely on others, allowing our 
imaginations a long rein in the process.
  In doing so, we are aware that we leave 
ourselves open to the contentions and 
consternation of those who know much of the 
rebellion. We apologise in advance, the 
interpretation of events and characters involved 
are all our own doing, but we give an assurance 
that we rooted ourselves firmly in historical 
fact throughout the plays construction, and used 
this as the basis for all that you see.
  We hope that some of the spirit of 1549 finds 
its way to you. Crude apache is proud to present 
our version of Ketts rebellion as part of the 
Norwich 800 celebrations. Enjoy the show."

"Stop dancing the Charleston and light my cigar. 
You're a walking anachronism, woman"
Tracy Mavor and Peta Morrant.
  And none other than the great CVR, Charles Roberts wrote the following:

"Open-air theatre in Sunday afternoon sunshine - 
and a tale of rebellion, injustice, blood and 
vicious retribution. The two might not seem ideal 
companions. But Crude Apache's story is told in 
the style of what might be called "pantomome documentary" - and it works.
There is much comedy, often farcical, much 
caricaturing of characters. But underneath it 
all, history and the gross injustices of an age are there writ large.
  The large audience of adults and youngsters 
probably came away with a better idea of what 
relly happened in those eight fateful weeks in 
1549 than they'd garner from your average history lesson.
There is flexibility and flow here both in script 
and presentation, which is surprising in that 
this is a "committee creation", which usually means slackness and indulgence.
  Equally effective a partner is Bill Jones's 
music composed in a muscular folk idiom and sung 
with rhythmic assurance and projection.
Jerry Ferley, Tom Carver, Rachel Hardy and Ian 
Brownlie represent the masses who flocked to 
Robert Kett's flag at Wymondham before the 
assault on Norwich. They are admirably 
contrasted, a working band of players in whom one 
believes absolutely as ordinary men in a time of crisis.
Some of the other characters are so ludicrously 
caricatured as to get completely out of hand, 
like Jo Edye's Flowerdew the landowner; and Tracy 
Mavor doubling as cringeing servant and Norwich 
worthy Augustine Steward. At the opposite swing 
of the pendulum is Peta Morrant as the brutal 
Earl of Warwick, with eye patch, sabre scar, 
black leathers and swaggering presence. He 
deserves a green spotlight - and entirely merits 
the hisses and laughter he earns."

C V Roberts. Eastern Daily Press, 18/7/94.

  There is an amusing anecdote from this 
production involving the great man and our own 
Simon Floyd. Being an outdoor production, there 
was no formal seating, people happily sitting on 
blankets or bringing folding chairs. CVR arrived 
to review the show a few minutes before the 
start. Several of us were in the tent erected at 
the side of the stage when Himself poked his head 
round the tent flap and announced his presence in 
somewhat stentorian tones - "Charles Roberts, 
Eastern Daily Press, have you a chair for me ?" 
at which the Floyd leapt to his feet as if stung, 
gushing - "Mr. Roberts, sir, how wonderful to see 
you, please step this way..."
Unfortunately by this time, a very large crowd 
had turned up, and no chairs were obviously 
available. Not to be beaten, however, our man, in 
a fit of extraordinary sacrifice, comandeered the 
chair on which his seventy year old 
grandmother-in-law had up to that point been 
comfortably seated, and presented it, with much 
grovelling, to the unabashed gentleman of the 
press. Of such episodes are good reviews made.

Visit the website of  'The Common Lot' and see 
all the details of the re-worked show presented 
in 1999, the 450th anniversary of the rebellion.

Tony Gosling
Jul 5, 1999
KETT'S REBELLION 1549 - 1999
  Saturday 10th July
  Meeting place - 12 noon - The Haymarket, Norwich

  450 Years ago 20,000 common people led by Robert Kett rose up in Norfolk as
  a protest against inclosure of land. Kett was a landowner who sympathised
  with the victims of inclosure and he led the people in tearing down fences
  and filling in ditches returning great swathes of Norfolk to common
  management. He held court under Kett's Oak near Wymondham and ran the
  region for 2 months from under the tree. The worst inclosing landowners
  were arrested, tried and locked up in Norwich jail for stealing the land.
  Kett issued a set of principles, aimed particularly at Edward VI, as part
  of his and the peasants' plan to run the region more equitably. Their main
  demand was the end of private ownership of land. The rebellion lasted for
  2 months before being brutally suppressed with a loss of 4,000 lives.

  To mark this important anniversary The Land Is Ours is organising an
  occupation somewhere in Norfolk. Bring acoustic instruments - tent -
  sleeping bag and whatever else you'd expect to find. Please no dogs or
  amplified music.

  Phone/fax 01865 722016 (TLIO)
  01603 484412 (Greta; local contact)
  Rory - Pager 01523 773915
office at

  Other Ketts events in the area include:
  9th /10th /11th July at Wymondham, Norfolk; three days of mixed events at the
  original location of the rising. (Rail and bus access)

  Kett Celebration links

  Common Lot: Theatre troupe performing The History of Kett's Rebellion this

  Tony Gosling tony at
  Tel +44 (0)117 955 6769
  14 Lancaster Road
  St Werburgh's

  Common origin of NATO, EU, World Bank & IMF

  UK/USA 'spooks' monitoring sorted chat: -- you dig?

Kett's Demands

1. We pray your grace that where it is enacted 
for enclosing that it be not hurtful to such as 
have enclosed saffron grounds for they be greatly 
chargeable to them, and that from henceforth no man shall enclose any more.

2. We certify your grace that whereas the lords 
of the manors have been charged with certain free 
rent, the same lords have sought means to charge 
the freeholders to pay the same rent, contrary to right.

3. We pray your grace that no lord of no manor shall common upon the common.

4. We pray that priests from henceforth shall 
purchase no lands neither free nor bond, and the 
lands that they have in possession may be letten 
to temporal men, as they were in the first year 
of the reign of King Henry VII.

5. We pray that all the marshes that are held of 
the king’s majesty by free rent or of any other, 
may be at such price as they were in the first year of King Henry VII.

6. We pray that reed ground and meadow ground may 
be at such price as they were in the first year of King Henry VII.

7. We pray that all bushels within your realm be 
of one stice, that is to say, to be in measure VIII gallons.

8. We pray that priests or vicars that be not 
able to preach and set forth the word of God to 
his parishioners may be thereby put from his 
benefice, and the parishioners there to choose 
another or else patron or lord of the town.

9. We pray that the payments of castle ward rent, 
blanch farm, and office lands, which hath been 
accustomed to be gathered of the tenements, 
whereas we suppose the lords ought to pay the 
same to their bailiffs for their rents gathering, and not the tenants.

10. We pray that no man under the degree of a 
knight or esquire keep a dove house, except it 
hath been of an old ancient custom.

11. We pray that all freeholders and copyholders 
may take the profits of all commons, and there to 
common, and the lords not to common nor take profits of the same.

12. We pray that no feodary within your shores 
shall be a counselor to any man in his office 
making, whereby the king may be truly served, so 
that a man being of good conscience may be yearly 
chosen to the same office by the commons of the same shire.

13. We pray your grace to take all liberty of 
leet your own hands whereby all men may quietly 
enjoy their commons with all profits.

14. We pray that copyhold land that is 
unreasonable rented may go as it did in the first 
year of King Henry VII. And that at the death of 
a tenant, or of a sale the same lands to be 
charged with an easy fine as a capon or a 
reasonable sum of money for a remembrance.

15. We pray that no priest shall hold no other 
office to any man of honour or worship, but only 
to be resident upon their benefices, whereby 
their parishioners may be instructed within the laws of God.

16. We pray that all bond men may be made free, 
for God made all free with his precious bloodshedding.

17. We pray that Rivers may be free and common to 
all men for fishing and passage.

18. We pray that no man shall be put by your 
Feudatory to find any office, unless he holdeth 
of your grace in chief, or capite above 10 by year.

19. We pray that the poor mariners or fishermen 
may have the whole profits of their fishings such 
as porpoises, grampuses, whales, or any great 
fish so it be not prejudicial to your grace.

20. We pray that every proprietary parson or 
vicar having a benefice of 10 or more by year, 
shall either by themselves, or by some other 
person teach poor men’s children of their parish 
the book called the catechism and the primer.

21. We pray that it be not lawful to the lords of 
any manor to purchase lands freely, (i.e. that 
are freehold), and to let them out again by copy 
or court roll to their great advancement, and to 
the undoing of your poor subjects.

22. We pray that no proprietary parson or vicar, 
in consideration of avoiding trouble and lawsuit 
between them and their poor parishioners, which 
they daily do proceed and attempt, shall from 
henceforth take for the full contents of all the 
tenths which now they do receive, but 8.

23. We pray that no lord, knight, esquire, nor 
gentlemen do graze nor feed any bullocks or sheep 
if he may spend forty pounds a year by his lands 
but only for the provision of his house.

24. We pray that no man under the degree of [word 
missing] shall keep any conies [= rabbits] upon 
any freehold or copyhold unless he pale them in 
so that it shall not be to the commons’ annoyance.

25. We pray that no person of what estate degree 
or condition he be shall from henceforth sell the 
awardship of any child, but that the same child 
if he live to his full age shall be at his own 
choosing concerning his marriage the King’s wards only except.

26. We pray that no manner of person having a 
manor of his own, shall be no other lord’s bailiff but only his own.

27. We pray that no lord, knight, or gentleman 
shall have or take in form any spiritual promotion.

28. We pray your grace to give license and 
authority by your gracious commission under your 
great seal to such commissioners as your poor 
commons have chosen, or to as many of them as 
your majesty and your counsel shall appoint and 
think meet, for to redress and reform all such 
good laws, statues, proclamations and all other 
your proceedings; which hath been hidden by your 
Justices of your peace, Sheriff, Feudatories, and 
other your officers, from your poor commons, 
since the first year of the reign of your noble grandfather King Henry VII.

29. We pray that those your officers, which have 
offended your grace and your commons, and [are] 
so proved by the complaint of your poor commons, 
do give unto these poor men so assembled 4d. 
every day so long as they have remained there.[27]
+44 (0)7786 952037
Twitter: @TonyGosling
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"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that 
shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27

Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.  
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