Jack Sharpe's Rising
Abingdon Rebels of 1431

In 1431 a certain William Mandeville, a weaver and bailiff of Abingdon, hatched a conspiracy among "certain lewd persons under pretence of religious-minded men" at Abingdon against the Church and against the Government of the Protector, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Mandeville took the name of Jack Sharpe of Wigmer's Land in Wales. Duke Humphrey came down to Abingdon in person to crush the rising. There is a lively account of the affair in the Chronicles of London:

"In the same year, between Easter and Whitsontide, the Duke of Gloucester had whiting that there was gathered many risers at Abingdon, against men of holy church, for they said they would have three priests heads for a penny. And the name of their champion was Jack Sharpe. And then anone in all haste, the Duke of Gloucester and his men rode to Abingdon; and there was taken Jack Sharpe, and other men; and they were found defective and therefore they were done to death; and, on the Friday in Whitson week, the head of Jack Sharpe was brought to London, and it was set on London Bridge, and all the remnant of his fellowship that might be taken were put to death at Abingdon."

Gregory's Chronicle (ad annum) mistakenly gives the details in a rather different fashion:

"Jack Sharpe makes a rising in the city of London. Taken at Oxford 19th of May, drawn, hanged and quartered, and his head set on London Bridge, and his quarters sent to divers towns of England, as to Oxford, Abingdon, and to others."

Edited from Townsend's "History of  Abingdon" (1910)

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