Hidden London by Jan Collie

Shakespeare's London
Site of the Globe
Middle Temple Hall
Gray's Inn Hall
Southwark Cathedral
Blackfriars Playhouse
Bear Gardens
St. Andrew by the Wardrobe
Ireland Yard
The George, Southwark
Dickens' London
The American Connection
Museums & Historic Houses
Churches with Character
Wandering Wheels
Jack Cade's Rebellion

Jack Cade, also known as John Mortimer, took charge of an uprising of Kentish peasants and landowners in May 1450. Whipped up into a fury over unfair taxes, indiscriminate land seizure and forced labour, the group marched on London after beating the King's forces at Sevenoaks. Cade's rebels were reasonably well received by the London authorities but the mood changed when they insisted on executing both the sheriff of Kent and the Lord Chamberlain. Anxious to prevent further bloodshed, Henry VI managed to disperse most of the rebels by offering them pardons and concessions. This moment was later dramatised by Shakespeare in his history, Henry VI Part ii. The playwright has a desperate Cade pleading:

'Will ye needs be hanged with your pardons around your necks? Hath my sword therefore broke through London gates, that you should leave me at the White Hart in Southwark?' (Act iv Sc.8.)

Copyright Jan Collie 2002
Published by permission of the author.
All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission.