Evil May-Day, 1517: the Story of a Riot

Martin Holmes describes how, when Henry VIII was aged twenty-six, the Easter sermons of 1517 provoked riots in London against the wealth and power of aliens at Court.

It is no unfamiliar thing for friction to arise between the native Englishman and the settler from overseas. For a long time denizen and alien will live together and work together in neighbourly fashion, with a degree of friendliness and mutual respect, and then some intrusive factor will set them at each other’s throats, arousing hard feelings and even bloodshed, till the disturbance has to be quelled by authority and all becomes quiet again until the next time.

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