Cade, Jack

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Cade, Jack (d. 1450). Leader of Kentish rebellion. Cade's identity remains a mystery. Military experience is suggested by his capacity to organize, lead, and attempt to discipline the thousands of men from Kent and adjoining counties who began to rise late in May 1450. He adopted the name of John Mortimer, apparently for propaganda purposes: there is no proof that he had any connection with that family or its head, Richard of York. Cade harnessed a seemingly spontaneous movement of protest against the incompetence and corruption of Henry VI's government which, divided and demoralized, could not prevent the rebels entering London on 3 July. Here Cade's control of his followers crumbled, the citizens united to expel them, and the rebels were persuaded to accept pardons and disperse. Although himself pardoned (as ‘Mortimer’), Cade remained belligerent and was fatally wounded when resisting arrest on 12 July.

R. L. Storey

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Jack Cade

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