Robert Kett

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Kett, Robert (d. 1549). Kett showed more organizational skill than is usually found in the leaders of peasant risings. He was a tanner and small landowner, holding the manor of Wymondham (Norfolk). Residual resentment over the dissolution of the monasteries, local feuds, and anger over enclosures sparked a riot in the town in the summer of 1549 which developed into a major rising. The insurgents set up camp for six weeks on Mousehold Heath, notable for the discipline which Kett imposed, electing a governing council and maintaining law and order. After he had occupied Norwich, the second town in the kingdom, the royal government gathered a force under Lord Northampton, which the rebels routed. Three weeks later, a second force, stiffened by mercenaries, cut the insurgents to pieces at Dussindale. Kett was hanged at Norwich, his brother William at Wymondham. The coincidence of Kett's rebellion with the Prayer Book rising in Devon and Cornwall caused Protector Somerset's government great anxiety.

J. A. Cannon

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Robert Kett, d. 1549, English rebel. He led an agrarian revolt in 1549 as a protest against the enclosure of common land for sheep grazing. With 16,000 men he blockaded Norwich, but was defeated and executed.