In this paper I argue that the dating and extent of the ‘quantitative movement’ in English metres (c.1550 to c. 1603) is no mere literary accident, but is connected with changes that had taken, or were taking, place in the stress phonology of English. Chief among these changes was the extensive replacement of the native, ‘left-strong’ system of English stress by a Latinate, ‘right-strong’ system. This replacement has further consequences: a particular kind of relationship between English syllable structure and stress is established, and many secondary-stressed syllables at the right edges of English words are reduced. Both these consequences are germane to the structure of English quantitative verses of the period, as the paper explicates. The paper therefore explores, using non-linear formalism, what links may exist between the stress phonology of English and instances of English poetic form.