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The Peasants' Revolt

783 of 1169 nominations

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The Peasants' Revolt

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The Peasants' Revolt

June 15, 1381. Wat Tyler, grizzled leader of the men of Kent comes face to face with fresh-faced teenage king Richard II at Smithfield. It has been three days since John Ball preached his famous sermon asking “When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” It’s merely 24 hours since the men of Essex, led by Jack Straw, have looted buildings and had their demands conceded by the King at Stepney. The Tower of London has been breached and several prominent noblemen and churchmen executed, the Savoy Palace has been burned to the ground. Tyler is backed up by many thousands of angry men, resentful of a wealthy church, repressive labour laws and the newly enforced Poll Tax. According to an eyewitness (on the King’s side), Tyler behaves disrespectfully towards young Richard, shaking his hand roughly and calling for water, with which he rinses his mouth "in a very rude and disgusting fashion”. Within minutes, Tyler lies dying from a neck wound inflicted by the Lord Mayor of London. Mobs need a leader and King Richard steps in. The Peasants' Revolt is over.

NOMINATION 783 OF 1169

Your comments

The Peasants Revolt epitomises something which is often forgotten about England - its very strong radical egalitarian tradition. The immediate cause of the revolt was Richard II's poll tax, but it tapped into something much older and more radical. The Peasant's did not simply end to the poll tax or fairer taxation in the future, they demanded that all Englishmen tshould as equal individuals in terms of their worth . All aristocratic titles and privileges were to be abolished and only the king was to retain a superior position - the mediaeval world could not conceive of a land without a king. The egalitarian nature of the time can be seen in the rhyme "When Adam delved and Eve span/Who was then the gentleman. "

Robert Henderson


If the Terrorism Bill now going through Parliament passes into law as it now stands, making the Peasants' Revolt an icon of England (something that included the hacking off of the Archbishop of Canterbury's head) might be considered a glorification of terrorism and, therefore, unlawful.
Taxus


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I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye

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