Thursday, May 01, 2008

On this day

in 1517, the 'Evil May Day' riots took place in London. Apprentices attacked foreign residents. Wolsey suppressed the rioters, of whom 60 were hanged.. One version:

Within a few hours approximately a thousand young male apprentices had congregated in Cheapside. The mob freed several prisoners who were locked up for attacking foreigners and proceeded to St Martin le Grand, a privileged liberty north of St Paul's Cathedral where numerous foreigners lived. Here they were met by the under-sheriff of London, Thomas More, who attempted vainly to persuade them to return to their homes. However as soon as More had calmed them the inhabitants of St Martin started to throw stones, bricks, bats and boiling water from their windows which also fell on an official who screamed: "Down with them!".

This sparked panic in the mob and they looted foreigners' houses there and elsewhere in the city, although no one was killed. By 3am the riot had died down and the three hundred people arrested were pardoned. However thirteen of the rioters were convicted of treason and executed on 4 May, and Lincoln was executed three days later. This account by Hall is mirrored by a letter to the Venetian doge written five days after the riot.[4]

You wouldn't think that there would have been enough "globalisation" then to attract so many foreigners that it would make a significant impact on the population.

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