The Hundred Years war had provided need for the
government to raise funds for the war effort, by
increasing taxes. These taxes starting in the mid 13th century,
and when Henry VI's government increased these taxes more,
together with many corrupt local landowners requiring bribes,
set the seeds for the rebellion.
In the summer of 1450 the men of Kent
and Sussex led by Jack Cade, rebelled and marched on
London. This was not just a peasant uprising, but was
throughout the general populace. Local notables who were
part of the uprising included the clerks of Dallington and Wartling ,
the rector of Mayfield and even the
Prior of St Pancras in Lewes. The rebellion was
widespread, and the men of Appledore and Frant were known to have been in the
The rebels met the Royalist forces near
to Sevenoaks, and defeated them, and stormed London, only
just failing to take the Tower of London. The Lord Treasurer,
Sir James Fiennes and the Archbishop of Canterbury were
beheaded by the rebels, and their heads were placed on
poles kissing each other.
The Royalist forces regrouped and
fought the rebels until both sides were exhausted. A
truce was called, and Cade presented a long list of
complaints, including the following.
Being assured by the
Royalist leaders that his demands would be met, and that
the rebels would be pardoned, Cade handed over the list
of rebels, and the rebels went back to their fields,
where the harvest was waiting.
Cades army declining in size, and the
demands not having been agreed by either Parliament or
the King, made his position insecure. The King demanded
his arrest, and Cade fled to the Weald. He was hunted
down by Alexander Iden , the Sheriff of Kent, who caught
up with Cade near Heathfield at a hamlet now called Cade Street
injured and died on the way to London, and his body was
hung drawn and quatered, and his head fixed on a pole on
Although the rebels demands wern't met,
in general with the exception of the ringleaders, the
pardon was kept. The ringleaders were all killed, and
their dismembered bodies distributed around the country
as a warning to other would be rebels.
Comments on Jack Cade by Alfred Rogers
formerly of Punnetts Town
| If anyone wishes to see the
King, they have to pay bribes.
| The King owes significant
debts to many merchants and will not pay.
| Land and goods in Kent are
taken by the Kings Servants without payment.
| Bribery and corruption is the
normal way for Judges and Sheriffs to operate.
| Taxation is too high, and
| The people want free elections
(Many thanks Alfred, it is always good to review history)
As a lad, I was intrigued by the monument to Jack Cade at Cade
Street, but it always puzzled me that the Sheriff of KENT should have
overstepped his authority to the extent of trespassing into the County
of Sussex by some ten miles (at least).
It was later suggested that there was a string of events that had
taken place in the middle of the eighteenth century. An historical
society decided that the taking of Jack Cade should be commemorated in
stone and a firm of memorial masons was employed to do the job. Now
comes the query - for it was disputed that Cade was apprehended near
Heathfield in Sussex, but rather at Hothfield near Ashford in Kent. -
Was the place of erection of the memorial the correct one?
Those who queried the name of Cade Street pointed to the fact that even
Anglo-Saxon times the village existed, being known as Catte Street. This
could easily have led to a mistake by those who erected the memorial if
they had read Hothfield as Heathfield.
Further information provided by GDOC
In the 1970s the farm manager at Rippers Cross Farm in Hothfield Kent stated that one possible explanation of the name of the farm was that it was the site of the killing of Jack Cade