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Prayer Book rising

Prayer Book rising, 1549. The regime of Protector Somerset at the accession of Edward VI moved sharply towards protestantism and in January 1549 Parliament ordered the new Book of Common Prayer in English to be used. The day after it was introduced at Sampford Courtenay in Devon the villagers demanded that their priest should say the old mass, complaining that the new service was like some ‘Christmas game’ and in a language they could not comprehend. Joined by insurgents from Cornwall, they besieged Exeter. Protector Somerset, with Kett's rising in Norfolk to deal with as well, moved cautiously, but on 17 August at Sampford Courtenay, Lord Russell (Bedford) subdued the rebels. Somerset's hesitancy helped to undermine his position. Lord Russell was rewarded by promotion to the earldom of Bedford.

J. A. Cannon

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