Through the use of much previously unpublished material this book offers a fresh, balanced assessment of the realities of life in rural England during the later Middle Ages based as much on the perspective of the peasants themselves as of their landlords. The demands voiced by the rebels in the 'Peasants' Revolt of 1381 provide an instructive glimpse of peasant grievances. Indeed, the peasant discontent of this time helps to explain many of the changes forced upon landlords during the ensuing 120 years, a period that saw the gradual disappearance of serfdom in England, as well as significant movements of populations as peasants became free to move to more promising areas. As Professor Fryde shows, such developments had wide-ranging consequences for the social and economic history of Britain. Due consideration is given to the harsh treatment meted out by oppressive landlords, to the desertion of villages and the spread of enclosure, to trade as well as agriculture, to both ecclesiastical and lay landlords, and to such matters as the effects of warfare on village life. Emphasis is given to the evidence of widespread peasant poverty and continuous unrest, whether taking the form of rebellion or, more commonly, passive resistance to landlords.