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Pardon rebel hero Kett - call

PUBLISHED: 20:14 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:32 14 July 2010

WYMONDHAM'S rebel hero Robert Kett is this week at the centre of an unusual bid to have his name cleared by the government.

Kett led a bloody rebellion against the state in 1549, but is now honoured by local people as a brave hero who fought against the injustices of

his day.

WYMONDHAM'S rebel hero Robert Kett is this week at the centre of an unusual bid to have his name cleared by the government.

Kett led a bloody rebellion against the state in 1549, but is now honoured by local people as a brave hero who fought against the injustices of

his day.

And now more than 450 years after the Wymondham-born yeoman farmer was put to death for high treason at Norwich Castle, an amateur historian is calling on the government to quash his conviction.

Michael Chandler, 46, who lives in the city centre, has written to the Home Office asking them to “reappraise” one of Norwich's best known historical characters as a “courageous leader” who stood up for the poor and not a traitor.

Mr Chandler, who is writing a book about the Kett's Rebellion and hopes to make a TV documentary about it, first became interested in the uprising after moving to the city from East London nearly three

years ago.

Robert Kett, a wealthy landowner, led an army of peasants from Wymondham to Norwich who were angry at enclosures installed on common land by rich barons, which left those with no land of their own to starve.

His mob of 15,000 men set up camp on Mousehold Heath and briefly overran the city, fighting off one Royal army before being forced out by a 14,000-strong force led by John Dudley, Earl of Warwick.

Hundreds of rebels were killed and Robert and his brother William were captured and tortured at Norwich Castle. They were convicted of high treason at the Tower of London before being executed - Robert at Norwich Castle and William at Wymondham Abbey.

Now in a letter to the Home Office, Mr Chandler is calling on ministers to follow the people of Norwich in their praise of Mr Kett, who was hailed as a “courageous leader” in the struggle of the poor seeking “just conditions” in a plaque put up in his honour at Norwich Castle by Norwich City Council in 1949 - 400 years after his death.

Mr Chandler said: “The government of today needs to re-examine the situation. The people of Norwich say Robert Kett wasn't a traitor, but a man who looked out for the common person.

“Now it's time the British government did the same to show he wasn't a traitor.”

A Home Office spokesman said the department had not yet received Mr Chandler's letter: “When we receive it we will look at it and deal with it in the appropriate manner.”

Mr Chandler is hoping to speak

to descendents of Robert and William Kett living today. To contact him

e-mail kettsrebellion@michael

rossfilmandtv.co.uk

Robert Kett's uprising and his local links are immortalised in Wymondham's town sign.

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