"The rebellion of 1554 - known from the leader of its most important sector as Wyatt's Revolt - brought Elizabeth to her nadir. "

Mary was determined to marry Philip of Spain in spite of general popular opposition.  The mere thought of a Spaniard on the throne of England was anathema to the populace.   In response, a rebellion was planned in which the whole of middle and southern England would rise in revolt.  Lady Jane Grey's father, the Duke ofSuffolk would raise an army in the midlands, the Carew family in the south-west, Sir James Croft in the Welsh Marches (the area covering the borders of Wales and England) and Sir Thomas Wyatt in Kent.  The plans fell apart until only the Kent forces, led by Thomas Wyatt, reached London.  Repulsed by Mary's supporters at London Bridge they regrouped and marched to Kingston, where they crossed the river but were finally stopped at Ludgate, which was defended by its inhabitants.  Thomas Wyatt, along with 90 of his supporters, surrendered, was tried and eventually executed on 11th April 1554.

Sign at the Tower Hill Scaffold location
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSign at the Tower Hill Scaffold location - Credit: Mike Peel

Elizabeth was implicated in the plot and faced the very real threat of retribution from Mary.  However, after strenuous efforts to condemn Elizabeth as a conspirator, nothing could be proved, other than she had communicated with the rebels and was kept informed of their plans.  Thereafter, until Mary's death, Elizabeth was either kept a prisoner, or closely watched.



The plaque on the old site of the scaffold on Tower Hill shows Thomas Wyatt's name and date of execution, together with others executed for treason during the reign of the Tudors.