June 1497 Royal tax collector Sir Richard Flamank’s son Thomas Flamank, from Bodmin, and St Keverne blacksmith Michael Joseph An Gof led the Cornish tax rebellion. The rebels disliked Henry VII’s taxes raised to fund his war against the Scots.
Flamank and An Gof spoke against the taxes, claiming a war with Scotland was nothing to do with Cornwall. An Gof marched a crowd to Bodmin, where they joined Flamank’s men to march on London to ask the king not to levy the tax.
Battle of Deptford Bridge
They picked up more followers on the way and fought a small battle in Guildford before arriving at Blackheath, south-east London, on Friday 16 June 1497. At first 15,000 camped there but many sneaked away during the night.
In the morning, the king – who thought Saturdays his lucky day – sent about 10,000 troops, led by Lord Daubeney, to attack the ill-armed rebels.
At the Battle of Deptford Bridge, the king’s army easily beat the rebels, capturing Flamank and another key rebel, Lord Audley. An Gof fled and hid in a church but was soon caught.
Hanged, drawn and quartered
The two leaders were hanged, drawn and quartered and their heads stuck on posts on London Bridge. Lord Audley, as a peer, was only beheaded.