1381: The Year of the Peasants' Revolt

1381: The Year of the Peasants' Revolt

by Juliet Barker


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Written with the fluency readers have come to expect from Juliet Barker, 1381: The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt provides an account of the first great popular uprising in England and its background, and paints on a broad canvas a picture of English life in medieval times. Skeptical of contemporary chroniclers’ accounts of events, Barker draws on the judicial sources of the indictments and court proceedings that followed the rebellion. This emphasis offers a fresh perspective on the so-called Peasants’ Revolt and gives depth and texture to the historical narrative. Among the book’s arguments are that the rebels believed they were the loyal subjects of the king acting in his interests, and that the boy-king Richard II sympathized with their grievances.

Barker tells how and why a diverse and unlikely group of ordinary men and women from every corner of England—from servants and laborers living off wages, through the village elite who served as bailiffs, constables, and stewards, to the ranks of the gentry—united in armed rebellion against church and state to demand a radical political agenda. Had it been implemented, this agenda would have transformed English society and anticipated the French Revolution by four hundred years. 1381: The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt is an important reassessment of the uprising and a fascinating, original study of medieval life in England’s towns and countryside.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674368149
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 11/24/2014
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 1,171,047
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Juliet Barker is one of Britain’s most distinguished literary biographers and medievalists and author of Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

A Note to the Text 1

1 The end of an era 3

2 The state of the nation 19

3 Landlords and tenants 43

4 Urban society 77

5 Wars and taxes 110

6 Resistance 143

7 Essex and Kent arise 163

8 To London 195

9 Mile End 225

10 Smithfield 258

11 St Albans and Bury St Edmunds 279

12 Ely, Huntingdon and Cambridge 307

13 Norfolk 327

14 North and south 355

15 Suppression 372

16 The aftermath 391

17 The legacy 405

Appendix 1 Wat Tyler 419

Appendix 2 Jack Straw 422

Appendix 3 John Balle 426

Appendix 4 John Balle's letters 429

Notes 437

Bibliography 465

Index 477

Picture Credits 504

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