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The Great Rising of 1381: The Peasants'…
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The Great Rising of 1381: The Peasants' Revolt and England's Failed… (edição: 2004)

de Alastair Dunn

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The Peasants' Revolt was the greatest mass rebellion in British history. Throughout June and July 1381, 60,000 men and women from as far afield as Yorkshire, Norfolk, and London rampaged across the country in response to the attempted collection of the hated "Poll Tax." Towns such as London, Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, and St Albans witnessed enormous disturbances in which local rivalries became enmeshed in the broader movement of resistance. The risings produced highly charismatic leaders, including William Grindecobbe, Wat Tyler, and John Wrawe ("The King of Suffolk"), although the rebels did not have a monopoly on charisma. The most dynamic personality of the entire revolt was the semi-psychotic Henry Despenser, Bishop of Norwich, who converted his household into a miniature army.… (mais)
Membro:breadhat
Título:The Great Rising of 1381: The Peasants' Revolt and England's Failed Revolution
Autores:Alastair Dunn
Informação:Tempus Pub Ltd (2004), Paperback, 208 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:***
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The Great Rising of 1381 de Alastair Dunn

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3) The Great Rising of 1381 by Alastair Dunn
The Great Rising or Peasants Revolt of 1381 was a violent and bloody affair; fired by revolutionary zeal that threatened for a few brief days to overturn the social order of England. The rebel's demands for the abolition of serfdom, freely negotiated contracts between master and servant and mandatory rents which were forced on Richard II would have changed the social fabric of England. A real revolution.

Alastair Dunn has written a readable scholarly account of the events, using both primary and secondary sources. He has kept speculation to a minimum, piecing together the available evidence to present the reader with an enlarged view of what happened and why.

The story itself is a thrilling one. The majority of the English peasantry in the 14th century was still in serfdom, however there were signs of economic growth and so some peasants had been able to break free and there were more ongoing disputes between peasants and their feudal lords. The great plague of 1349 and its recurrences changed the supply and demand equation and there was now a shortage of labour that led to an increase in wages or demands for freedom. Edward III introduced his Ordinance of Labour which attempted to forcibly keep payment for labour at pre plague rates. It had the effect of producing a black market and the peasantry found themselves suffering further harassment. Edward III's final years were marked by senility, a corrupt court and a series of humiliating defeats in the war with France. When Richard II became king in 1377 at 10years old his advisers introduced a poll tax to replenish the treasury. The poll tax was a flat rate tax on all able bodied persons and so the burden fell on the poorer sections of the community, a big hike of the tax in 1380 was a direct cause of the revolt.

Peasants and the urban poor marched through Kent under the leadership of Wat Tyler, another band marched through Essex. They quickly co-ordinated a march on London. It was estimated that 50,000 people were on the move. They entered London and joined with disaffected townspeople to rampage through the city burning government buildings and the houses of the hated courtiers. Richard II and his treasurer Sir Robert Hales and the Chancellor the Bishop of Sudbury sought refuge in the Tower of London. The next morning June 14 Richard rode out to meet the rebel leaders at Mile End and agreed to most of their demands. Meanwhile the rebels had stormed the Tower and dragged out Hales and Sudbury and executed them on Tower Hill, along with any other government officials they could lay their hands on. Richard II regrouped the royal party for a further meeting at Smithfields on June 15. Wat Tyler made further demands including the dis endowment of church lands. There was an argument with the "arrogant" Tyler, daggers were drawn and Tyler was mortally wounded by the mayor of London. He was dragged back to Smithfields where he was summarily beheaded and his head on a pole was shown to his supporters. The rebels melted away.

The Government had been taken by surprise. The rebels had moved so quickly that they were able to storm the Tower of London which was unprepared for an assault. However once the royal party had regrouped they quickly wrested back control and the reprisals were savage. Rebel leaders were executed as traitors which meant being hung drawn and quartered. Risings had occurred in other parts of the country and they were quelled relatively easily with the usual reprisals.

These events have fascinated me as it was the first credible opposition to the ruling nobility. Little is known about the rebel leaders; Wat Tyler, John Ball and Jack Straw, but they certainly were initially successful and were on the verge of leading a revolution. The only information available comes from the royal chroniclers and the clergy and so the telling of the events has a definite bias. It is certain that the 14 year old boy King Richard II played a significant part in the events, but how much was it at the instigation of his advisers? and was he set up? Was there a plot to assassinate Wat Tyler. These questions can of course never be answered, there is just no more information available just plenty of what Ifs, but this has not stopped Alastair Dunn writing an enthralling history of the events. ( )
3 vote baswood | Jan 26, 2012 |
A very readable account of this key historical event. The author spends a good portion of the book looking at the underlying reasons for the outbreak of revolt in June 1381, including economic, financial, political and diplomatic causes. He also looks at the associated uprisings across much of the rest of the south and east of England. An excellent introduction to the subject. ( )
  john257hopper | Jul 27, 2009 |
Informative ( )
  Harrod | Dec 4, 2008 |
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The Peasants' Revolt was the greatest mass rebellion in British history. Throughout June and July 1381, 60,000 men and women from as far afield as Yorkshire, Norfolk, and London rampaged across the country in response to the attempted collection of the hated "Poll Tax." Towns such as London, Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, and St Albans witnessed enormous disturbances in which local rivalries became enmeshed in the broader movement of resistance. The risings produced highly charismatic leaders, including William Grindecobbe, Wat Tyler, and John Wrawe ("The King of Suffolk"), although the rebels did not have a monopoly on charisma. The most dynamic personality of the entire revolt was the semi-psychotic Henry Despenser, Bishop of Norwich, who converted his household into a miniature army.

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