Can you help bring Robert Ketts anti enclosure rebellion to the stage?
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
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 Ketts 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: Ketts
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.
Ketts 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 Johns. Kett became leader of
the group and designated an oak tree, now known
as Ketts 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 kettsociety.org.uk
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 Men of Norwich:
John Flowerdew/Mayor Thos. Codd:
The Men of London:
Marquis of Northampton:
Gilbert Dethick, Kings Herald:
Earl of Warwick:
Saff Edye & Caroline Davison
Directed, devised & written by:
Simon Floyd, Dave Popkin & the cast
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.
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
Phone/fax 01865 722016 (TLIO)
01603 484412 (Greta; local contact)
Rory - Pager 01523 773915
office at tlio.demon.co.uk
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 http://www.paston.co.uk/commonlot/links.htm
Common Lot: Theatre troupe performing The History of Kett's Rebellion this
Tony Gosling tony at gaia.org
Tel +44 (0)117 955 6769
14 Lancaster Road
Common origin of NATO, EU, World Bank & IMF
UK/USA 'spooks' monitoring sorted chat: -- you dig?
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 kings 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 mens 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 Kings wards only except.
26. We pray that no manner of person having a
manor of his own, shall be no other lords 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.
+44 (0)7786 952037
Twitter: @TonyGosling http://twitter.com/tonygosling
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shall not be made known. What I tell you in
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hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27
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