Thomas Flamank - Leader of the Cornish Rebellion of 1497

Thomas Flamank and Michael Joseph An Gof at St Keverne
Flamank and An Gof statue

Thomas Flamank was a lawyer of Bodmin. His father Sir Richard Flamank was the Royal Cornwall Tax Collector and an estate owner, hated by the common people. There was a great deal of poverty amongst the tin workers and labourers of Cornwall and in 1497, when King Henry VII imposed yet another subsidy on the people to finance his war against the Scots, there was outrage in the county. Thomas Flamank spoke at public meetings against the imposition of this tax. He compiled a “Declaration of Grievances”, enumerating the Cornish complaints about English rule.

Michael Joseph An Gof, a blacksmith from St Keverne roused his village to rebellion. In Bodmin Thomas Flamank followed this lead, urging the people to march with them and take their grievances to the King. They began to march peacefully to London, picking up supporters on the way. The Cornish became a disciplined army of around 15,000 men, effectively led by the powerful blacksmith, a natural leader, and the plausible Lawyer.

On reaching Blackheath, just outside London, Flamank and his followers were forced into battle against the King’s army in the Battle of Deptford Bridge. They were soundly defeated and Flamank was captured and taken to the Tower of London. Both he and An Gof were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn Hill for their part in the Cornish Rebellion. In 1997, a statue of Flamank and An Gof was laid in St. Keverne to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the rebellion.