Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A-Z Terribly Obscure...... Flammock's Rebellion

King Henry VII was levelling a tax to pay for military action against the Scottish which was as always not popular. Whilst most of the Country grumbled but paid up the Cornish planned to refuse. Thomas Flammock was a Lawyer and came from a wealthy family and argued that such a Tax was illegal as it should only be paid by the northern counties. Michael Joseph, a blacksmith was a very vocal commoner who it is said was always taking up arguments against authority in an attempt to promote himself (an early case of character assassination?) Between these two men they raised a large enough unrest that they had 6,000 men gathered ready to refuse to pay the £2,500 levy. On arrival of the tax collectors the protest went from demonstration to action. The 6,000 marched from Cornwall to Taunton in Somerset killing the Tax Collector there (Provost Perrin) and then marching a little further to Wells. Here they gained the leadership of Lord Audley said to be an impoverished Lord but still a Lord. The decision was made to march on London to present their grievances and demands, by this time this could be seen as no less than a direct challenge to the King. The march went through Salisbury and Winchester a march that on modern roads would be 170 miles from Taunton. Whilst original sources claim that the force that reached Blackheath (just outside London) was over 15,000 and made up of Cornish men I doubt 9-11,000 extra men were gained prior to leaving Cornwall and suggest that the majority were gathered on the march and would as such be a mix of Somerset, Devon and possibly beyond. After all all southern counties would share the view that it should be a northern tax.

Henry VII
Henry called back the army he had set off for the proposed campaign against the Scottish and whilst the Rebels were large in number they lacked sufficient leaders to command them effectively and were defeated on the 22nd June 1497. Though it was not plain sailing as Lord Daubeney was for a short time captured early in the battle. Both sides lost men in the battle. The Kings forces around 300 whilst the Rebels number given varies between 300 and 1,000+. The vast majority of the 15,000 were pardoned and allowed to go home but the leaders were executed. Lord Audley beheaded on Tower Hill whilst Flammock and Joseph were both hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn so rank even has it's privileges for rebels. For Henry the biggest concern was not that they had rose up in Rebellion but that they got to London without challenge. Whilst the London citizens had risen up in defence they had managed to march to London almost unopposed and without the aid of his field army the Londoners would have been unlikely to hold off the Rebels.

Wargameing the battle. Historical licence has to be taken to make this work. I would suggest a better command system for the rebels than they had. Further to this I would on turn two or three stop any more forward movement of the Royal Army for a undisclosed number of turns to represent Lord Daubeney's capture. How ever it would be played the rebels can not win a straight wargame so victory conditions should be designed to give them a win even in defeat. Possible ideas would be keep x units in good order for x turns. Hold X position till game end or inflict x causlties (unit breaks etc).

A skirmish also happened at Guildford, this obviously was not a defeat for the Rebels so could be a good action to represent. Obviously the cream of the army was not used in the major action and this should be taken into account in any battles that are played. The Rebels were mostly armed with Bill and Bow as you would expect. They were surprised on the 22nd expecting the attack the following day, this means they were prepared to fight a real army so I would expect a fairly high morale for them. Given a good set of VC's and scenario rules to reflect the situation you could get quite a good and interesting battle out of this.


  1. I hadn't heard of this but that's the point, good read Ian!

  2. Spoke to a mate last night who lives 10 miles from Wells who had a vague recolection but that was all.