Summer of Blood: The Peasants Revolt of 1381 by Dan JonesWat Tyler and John Ball may have been immortalized in songs when they led the peasant rebellion of 1381 but the story is Richard II. He was but a child when coronated and his inherited kingdom was in a certain decline. War with France, bad weather and the uncertainty of the peasant position after the Black Death had left the monarchy a bit concerned. Hoping for revenue with the time honored way of pissing off everyone: a poll tax was introduced along with certain legal caps on wages. Locals went wild, fueled by the egalitarian preaching of Ball and the charismatic leadership of Tyler. They marched on London, maintaining a relative discipline of burning—-rather than looting. Many of the mobs enemies were put to the sword including the Archbishop of Canterbury. Richard II attempted to meet with them once, heard some of their demands about summary executions and the King sagely withdrew. A more sober parley occurred between representatives and this encounter encouraged the monarch. Richard II met Wat Tyler at Smithfield. Tyler, emboldened, insulted the monarch at which point the rebel leader was attacked and killed. If initially the populace put fear into the monarch, eventually Richard II terrified the people with a harsh retribution. Somewhere between one and seven thousand were put to the sword.
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They met with Richard on June 15 at Smithfield , where Tyler presented more radical demands, which included the confiscation of all church lands. Fighting broke out in the course of the negotiations, and Tyler was badly wounded. His followers carried him to St. Wat Tyler. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.
The Black Death a plague had swept through the land during the years of to The Black Death killed off a large segment of the population and left landowners in desperate need of workers to work their land. With the need for more workers, lords began to encourage peasants to leave their villages in order to come work in their fields. The peasants also realized that they could demand higher pay since they were in such demand. This led to peasants leaving their village looking for a better deal in terms of wages. In , Parliament, in an attempt to stop peasants moving around for better pay, passed the Statute of Labourers. This statute stated that wages had to be the same as before the plague years and that peasants were not allowed to leave their villages.
He marched a group of rebels from Canterbury to the capital to oppose the institution of a poll tax and demand economic and social reforms. While the brief rebellion enjoyed early success, Tyler was killed by officers loyal to King Richard II during negotiations at Smithfield, London. Nothing is known of Wat Tyler's early life. Born with the first name Walter, his original surname was unknown. Prior to the Peasants' Revolt it is probable that he lived in Kent or Essex ; he has variously been represented as coming from Dartford , Deptford and Maidstone , all in Kent, and from Colchester in Essex. The Peasants' Revolt began in May , triggered by a recently imposed poll tax of 4 pence from every adult, whether peasant or wealthy. The revolt was not only about money, as the peasants also sought increased liberty and other social reforms.
Wat Tyler , d. His given name appears in full as Walter; his surname signifies the trade of a roof tiler. He came into prominence as the leader of the rebellion of , known as the Peasants' Revolt. The revolt had its origins in the plague of —49, which had swept away nearly a third of the population of England. The result was a scarcity of labor and a rise in wages.