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Michael Joseph (An Gof) and Thomas Flamank

These were the two leaders of the 1497 rebellion against Henry VII against the taxes he imposed to finance his Scottish war. There was great poverty among the Cornish tin workers, and much local resentment against having to pay towards a war that they felt had little to do with them. At St Keverne, near the Lizard, Michael Joseph, the local blacksmith roused the village into open rebellion. And in Bodmin, Thomas Flamank, a lawyer, also urged the populace to arms to protest.

 

They led an ill-clad, ill-armed army to march to London. Supporters were collected along the way, and in Somerset Lord Audley took command of the army. By the time it reached Blackheath near London, there were several thousand men armed with staves, pitchforks and homemade weapons. On June 17th 1497 they were surrounded by the King's army of ten thousand men. The battle was brief, 200 Cornishmen died. Lord Audley and Flamank were captured on the battlefield, Joseph caught as he fled towards Greenwich. They were taken to the Tower of London, Flamank and Joseph being executed at Tyburn 10 days later, with Lord Audley being beheaded at Tower Hill a day later.

 

Joseph became known as An Gof, Cornish for The Smith. The rebellion is indicative of the state of Cornwall at that time, and Perkin Warbeck's landing in Cornwall in Sept 1497 shows further how Cornwall was perceived as being ripe for rebellion.

 

   

       

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