Married couples, accustomed to paying as though they were one person, might reasonably be expected to register the change as an injustice-and as a violation of the legal understanding of conjugal unity.66 Given this context, it hardly seems surprising that married men may have tried to hide their wives from the tax collector when he appeared in the village and that tax collectors, in turn, may very well have been searching specifically for married women who suddenly had gone missing from the rolls.
One study Participants found from rolls of commissions looking into rebellion and pardon rolls. Some found in the rolls are actually victims who obtained pardons. That thenumber of conscript rebels must have been large is con®rmed by a statuteof 6 Richard II, which stated that, if four sureties swore that a defendantin a trespass suit connected with the rising was compelled to join, heshould be acquitted.
The three circle symbolsmark parishes/manors where manorial court rolls or other records were burnt. Aninaccuracy of the map lies in the fact that parishes and manors are rarely identical. Whena parish is marked, therefore, this means that the court rolls of at least one manor insidethe parish had been destroyed. The triangle symbol denotes other incidAccording to Christopher Dyer, the`popularity' of the burning of manorial records demonstrates `a speci®csense of grievance against the bureaucracy of lordship'.44 There was,however, more to it than that. With the destruction of the records thetenants believed they could free themselves of the dues, labour servicesand all the other obligations which were written down in the rolls.
"When Adam dalf, and Eve span, who was thanne a gentilman? From the beginning all men were created equal by nature, and that servitude had been introduced by the unjust and evil oppression of men, against the will of God, who, if it had pleased Him to create serfs, surely in the beginning of the world would have appointed who should be a serf and who a lord" and Ball ended by recommending "uprooting the tares that are accustomed to destroy the grain; first killing the great lords of the realm, then slaying the lawyers, justices and jurors, and finally rooting out everyone whom they knew to be harmful to the community in future."
"Johanna . . . went as the chief perpetrator and leader(principalis factor et ductor) of a great society of rebellious evildoersfrom Kent... to the Savoy in the county of Middlesex and, as an enemyof the king (utinimicaregis), burned the said manor; she seized a chestcontaining ?1,000 and more belonging to John, duke of Lancaster, andthen she put the said chest into a boat on the Thames and made off withit, all the way to Southwark, where she divided the gold between herselfand others."The next day (Friday 14 June), she apparently arrested ArchbishopSimon Sudbury and Treasurer Robert Hales and ordered their murders:"Together with others, Johanna went as the chief leader to the Towerof London, and she laid violent hands first on Simon, recently archbishopof Canterbury, and then on Brother Robert Hales . . . and she draggedthem out of the Tower and ordered that they be beheaded."30 Despitethe relative thoroughness of these charges, there is no record that JohannaFerrour was ever convicted; her husband, on the other hand, was acquitted34 One resulti s thatmanycases from the crown side of King's Bench relied on rigid legal formulas to push a charge of treason. But these formulas, including the accusation that a person was a "leader and maintainer" of a rebel band, or had "feloniously risen against the king" (as in the charges against Ferrour and Brembole), did not necessarily secure convictions, a point that calls into question the reason why they were used in the first place
10 f2013 Peasant Revolt of 1381
So hydous was the noyse--a, benedicitee!-Certes, he Jakke Straw and his meynee
Ne made nevere shoutes half so shrille
Whan that they wolden any Flemyng kille,
As thilke day was maad upon the fox.
Chaucer Nun’s Priests Tale
Long-term Causes of Unrest
Distrust in lords and law
Proletarianization of clergy
Hundred Years War - failures
Immediate Causes of Unrest
• Between 1369-1381, wars with Scotland
and France cost £1 million +
• Poll tax
• Fear and hatred of John of Gaunt, duke
Purpose – Defense of territories against
• 1377 Poll Tax
• 1379 Poll tax
• 1380 Poll tax
• 1377 per couple
• 1379 per couple and also single men and
• 1380 Per person over age 15
• First Poll Tax, 1377: £22,000.
• Second Poll Tax, 1379: £18,600.
• Third Poll Tax, 1380: (three times
1377 assessment. = four days
wages of a harvester).
• Military costs £100,000/year
Abusive Tax Collectors
Knighton writes, would go from village to
village and "shamelessly raise young girls'
skirts, to discover whether they were
corrupted by intercourse with men, and thus . .
. compel their friends and parents to pay the
tax for them, for many would rather choose to
pay than to see their daughters so shamefully
Sample of 180
100 £1 to 5
18 over £5
Status of Rebels
servant or laborer
When Adam dalf, and Eve span,
who was thanne a gentilman?
“From the beginning all men were created equal by nature”
“Servitude had been introduced by the unjust and evil
oppression of men, against the will of God”
Uproot “the tares that are accustomed to destroy the grain;
first killing the great lords of the realm, then slaying the
lawyers, justices and jurors, and finally rooting out
everyone whom they knew to be harmful to the community
John Ball, sermon quoted by Walsingham
Women of the Rebellion
• Margaret Stafford, in Larkfield, helped the
people to rise up
• Julia Pouchere, the wife of Richard, met
rebels from Canterbury and Essex and
goaded them to attack the Maidstone prison
Women of the Rebellion
• Katherine Gamen set loose a boat to prevent
the escape of Chief Justice John Cavendish
from the mob in Lakenheath
• Johanna Ferrour “went as the chief leader to
the Tower of London, and she laid violent
hands first on Simon, recently archbishop of
Canterbury, and then on Brother Robert
Hales . . . and she dragged them out of the
Tower and ordered that they be beheaded.”
Margery Starre was said to have tossed the
ashes of burnt documents to the winds, crying:
"away with the learning of clerks! away with it!"'
Federico, Sylvia. "The Imaginary Society: Women in 1381." The
Journal of British Studies 40.2 (2001): 159-183.
Reduce land rents to reasonable levels.
Abolish the poll tax
Pardons for all rebels.
Charters for peasants laying down a number
of rights and privileges; overturn of laws
• All "traitors" were to be put to death.