The Wars of the Roses (c. 1437-1509) can be seen as the event that marked England during the later Middle Ages, and the Jack Cade Rebellion of 1450 can be seen as a microcosm of the societal and governmental problems that affected the nation and its people.1 So perfectly located temporally in the center of the fifteenth century, Jack Cade’s Rebellion indeed bore some resemblance to the Peasants’ Rebellion of 1381. The analogies made between the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 and the Cade Rebellion (particularly the individuals who took part in the two uprisings) are, to a great extent, valid. The Peasants’ Revolt took place mainly in Essex, Kent, and East Anglia-the area where Cade and his band began their insurrection. However, the personage of Cade (a person who used aliases, believed that he was related by blood to the Duke of York, and altogether arrogant) is contrasted sharply with the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt and their seemingly democratic aims.2 Cade’s Rebellion, in addition to a sizable number of peasants, also featured a large collective of artisans, merchants, and guild members. Indeed, the listing of those names of people who were involved with Cade’s uprising and then pardoned provides a cross section of fifteenth-century middle-class London and Kent, the epicenter of the revolt. By the fifteenth century, the traditional estate model (the clergy, the nobles, and the peasants) that dominated England in the Middle Ages was beginning to collapse. New social and economic forces were beginning to create societal and political change; however, class distinctions were

1 These dates for the Wars of the Roses are taken from Christine Carpenter’s study, The Wars of the Roses: Politics and the Constitution in England, c. 1437-1509 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 1-3. Carpenter does not use the traditional dates of 1455-85 when discussing the wars, for she believes that the political events from the late 1430s need to be recounted and explained. Moreover, Henry VII’s reign and his solidification of the Houses of York and Lancaster prior to the unchallenged ascension of Henry VIII is included as vital moments in the whole of the Wars of the Roses.