Evil May-day Riots


“Beginning of the Riot in Cheapside.” From Old and New London, Illustrated, by Walter Thornbury, circa 1873. Public domain

On May Day in 1517, a riot was carried out by apprentices, journeymen and other workers. While this was an uprising of laborers, this incident, called the Evil May-day or Ill May-day, was also rooted in immigration and xenophobia in Tudor London.

Tracy's Research:

  • Boissoneault, Lorraine. “On Evil May Day, Londoners Rioted Over Foreigners Stealing Their Jobs.” Smithsonian. 5/1/2017. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/evil-may-day-1517-london-riots-over-foreigners-180963090/#dv4ytVzXtEmZdVOa.99
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral. “The Evil May Day Riots – 1517.” https://www.stpauls.co.uk/evilmayday
  • Waddell, Brodie. “Evil May Day: anti-alien riots in 1517.” Our Immigration Story. https://www.ourmigrationstory.org.uk/oms/londons-evil-may-day-riots
  • Paul, Joanne. “Migrants and Propaganda: The 1517 Evil May Day Riots.” The History Vault. https://thehistoryvault.co.uk/immigrants-and-propaganda-the-1517-evil-may-day-riots/
  • McSheffrey, Shannon. “Evil May Day, 1517: Prosecuting Anti-Immigrant Rioters in Tudor London.” Legal History Miscellany. 4/30/2017. https://legalhistorymiscellany.com/2017/04/30/evil-may-day-1517/
  • Paul, Joanne. “Thomas More: saint or sinner?” History Extra. 10/26/2016. https://www.historyextra.com/period/tudor/thomas-more-saint-or-sinner/
  • Noble, Graham. “’Evil May-Day’: Re-Examining the Race Riot of 1517.” History Review. September 2008. History Today Ltd.
  • Wilson, Derek. “Evil May Day 1517.” History Today. June 2017.
  • Hall, Edward. “Hall’s Chronicle.” In “Half-hours of English History” by Charles Knight. 1883. Via Google Play. https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=_EE-AAAAYAAJ
  • Arnold, Richard. “The customs of London, otherwise called Arnold's Chronicle.” 1521. Via archive.org. https://archive.org/details/customsoflondono00arno/page/n8
  • 'The Chronicle of the Grey Friars: Henry VIII', in Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London Camden Society Old Series: Volume 53, ed. J G Nichols (London, 1852), pp. 29-53. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/camden-record-soc/vol53/pp29-53 [accessed 10 April 2019].
  • Polydore Vergil. “Anglica Historia.” 1555. Via Philological Museum. http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/polverg/
  • City of London. “Law and Historic Governance.” https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/history/Pages/default.aspx

Topics in this Podcast: riots, smashing things, apprentices, European history, shakespeare, henry viii, 16th century, London, immigration, labor