Timelines to Visualize History

A Project by the Department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics, University of Düsseldorf

Begin End Event Description Keywords Related Events
1381 -

The Peasants' Revolt

The Peasants' Revolt was an uprising of the lower and middle classes, prompted by the increase of taxation due to the conflict with France and the devastation of the plague. They demanded a tax reduction and an end to serfdom.

In 1381 a heavy poll tax which was three times as much as the ones of 1377 and 1379, was imposed on the people. The collectors and justices had to face violent outbursts among the population that had lost confidence in its government because of the highly unsuccessful war with France and social, economical and political problems. In June 1381 the rebellion was launched in the East and South-East of England.

Under the leadership of John Ball and Wat Tyler peasants as well as townspeople marched towards London were they freed prisoners and ransacked the Tower and the homes of the King's ministers. The revolt was not aimed directly at the King, in whom the rebels placed their hopes of reform. Richard however betrayed the rebels by giving them false promises and the poorly planned rebellion was put down and its leaders killed by mid June.
History, Middle English Period, Political