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    The Peasants’ Revolt England 1381

    Facts about the Peasants' Revolt 1381

    · The Peasants' Revolt was caused by social and economic pressures after the Black Death and the wars with France
    · The 1380 poll tax was the immediate cause
    · It started in Essex and Kent but spread quickly to other places
    · Many rebels marched on London, where they were joined by discontented Londoners
    · Rebels targeted royal officials, tax collectors, senior clergy and lawyers
    · They burnt documents and several buildings
    · King Richard II met with the rebels twice. He granted their demands at the first meeting, but one of the rebel leaders was killed at the second.
    · Richard II didn't keep his word and many of the rebels were punished severely.
    · Although it’s known as the Peasants' Revolt, rebels included people from the towns and wealthier people.

    People to know

    · John Ball – a wandering radical preacher who is known as a leader of the revolt.
    · Henry Bolingbroke – John of Gaunt's son, cousin to Richard II, and the future Henry IV.
    · John of Gaunt – Richard II's uncle and one of the richest men in the kingdom.
    · Robert Hales – treasurer and Grand Prior of the Knights Hospitallers in England
    · Richard II – the boy king who was 14 years old when he met the rebels. Because he was so young, he needed advisers like John of Gaunt to help him rule.
    · Simon Sudbury – Archbishop of Canterbury and chancellor
    · Wat Tyler – one of the leaders of the revolt from Kent.
    · William Walworth – mayor of London.

    In May 1381, government demands to pay a poll tax started widespread rebellion in what became known as the Peasants' Revolt. Groups of people from Essex and Kent marched on London seeking social reform, inspiring others as they went. Leaders of the Revolt met with Richard II, who granted their demands, only to change his mind later. One of the leaders, Wat Tyler, was killed at the second such meeting and there followed an intense period of persecution and punishment of the rebels. In the end, none of the rebel demands were met, but it is remembered as the first time the commons (those who weren't noble) protested in such large numbers.

    Causes of the Peasants' Revolt

    England was not a calm and quiet place at the end of the 14th century. The Black Death, which had wiped out at least a third of Europe’s population in just a few years, had led to significant social change. With labour in short supply, demands for more freedoms and higher wages rose, as did the spending power – and expectations – of those on the lower levels of society. The nobility acted to protect their interests by introducing repressive measures meant to return the country to its pre-1348 status. The Statute of Labourers, introduced in 1351, not only fixed wages and prices at 1347 levels, it also extended the lords' hold over free tenants. These tenants had to swear an oath twice a year to uphold the Statute, and those who didn't could be put in the stocks . If they broke their oath they could be fined or outlawed. Furthermore, people thought there was corruption at the top levels of society. Edward III had died in 1377 and his 10-year-old grandson, Richard II, succeeded him to the throne. As Richard was so young, he needed a council of advisers, including his uncle, John of Gaunt. Few trusted this council, who were thought to be advising him badly and for their own ends.

    The threat of war with France was also a concern. A truce with France, whom England was fighting in the Hundred Years' War, had ended in 1377, and money was once again needed to fund the military. But despite the money spent on the military, England did not have the success it had under Edward III. In the summer of 1377, the French raided towns along the coast of southern England, from Plymouth to Dover. They retook Gascony, and besieged Calais. To win the war, the government needed more money, through more taxes, and more ships, which had to be paid for and built by the people of England. John of Gaunt, the King's uncle, was blamed for mishandling the situation in both Spain and France for his own ends. Never popular anyway, he started to be suspected of fiddling the figures and keeping the tax revenue for himself.

    John of Gaunt, Richard II's uncle and chief adviser

    Tensions simmered below the surface, with occasional protests in the decade before the revolt. In London in 1376, a mob chased John of Gaunt and Henry Percy out of the Savoy Palace after rumours Gaunt wanted to reduce the independent powers of the City. The final straw was the poll tax, which had first been set in 1377 at 4d per adult (excluding children under 15 and 'genuine beggars'). That money was not enough, nor was the money raised in the second poll tax in 1379. The third poll tax, set in 1380, demanded a whole shilling payment from every citizen regardless of income, three times the 1377 tax. Two thirds of it was to be collected by the end of January 1381, which was outside of the usual busy agricultural periods, when workers might hope to earn additional wages. To make matters worse, it followed a particularly bad harvest and hard winter, which had stretched many further than usual. People couldn't and wouldn't pay, and there was nationwide passive resistance. Many eligible people were left off the population counts. In parts of the North Riding of Yorkshire and Devon, for example, the number of eligible taxpayers reduced by 54% between 1377 and 1381, while in Cumberland and Cornwall, numbers fell by up to 65%.

    Despite its unpopularity, the government pressed ahead with the tax even though the reasons for it – the defence of the borders with Scotland, and English lands in France – had vanished. A truce had been arranged with Scotland and a peace treaty between England’s allies and enemies in France removed the need for soldiers there. By the time the final third of the tax was being collected, the army was arriving back in England. To ensure no person escaped paying, commissioners were hired to assess each individual and household personally. Some of these assessors were said to have taken this too far, particularly in assessing the age of girls. But for the government, this reassessment was a success. Much higher numbers of people were found liable to pay, almost all of whom were poor.

    The third instalment, and the money from the tax-dodgers, was due by the end of April 1381. The people of London refused to pay all they owed, and the collectors deemed it too dangerous to press for it. The first recorded violence was against a collector in Oxfordshire, William Payable, who was collecting from the clergy: the clergy were as unhappy about the poll tax as the laity . It was during the collection of this final amount that peasants of Fobbing and Brentwood in Essex refused to pay any more: they had already paid, and had a receipt from the commissioners to prove it. When the tax collector John Bampton ordered their arrest, the villagers drew their bows and chased him from the village. Once they had attacked royal officials performing royal duties, the villagers had no choice but to revolt. Messages and representatives were sent out to the surrounding villages where bands of rebels started to gather. The Peasants' Revolt had begun.

    Aims and ambitions

    The chroniclers of the time portrayed the revolt as a rabble, a violent horde that brought chaos and destruction. Yet the revolt actually seemed well organised, with - at least by the time it reached London - collective aims and ambitions. The revolt was not directed against the King, to whom the rebels remained loyal throughout. Even their watchword showed their loyalty: the response to their watchword 'With whom hold you?' was 'With King Richard and the true commons'. Instead, the rebellion was directed against the King's lords and advisers, especially John of Gaunt. The rebels demanded the execution of traitors, including royal officials, tax collectors and lawyers, and the abolition of 'all lordship of divers lords' except for the King.

    Just as they went after official people, the rebels also targeted official documents. These were often kept in the homes of lords and other officials, which were broken into. Documents, such as the returns of the third poll tax, manorial court rolls, judicial records, and legal archives were taken and piled onto bonfires. As a result, a number of historians have seen the revolt as a war on the written record.

    Above all, the rebels wanted to change society. Although the revolt was sparked by the poll tax, it was seen as a symptom of the problems in society. Several past and future tax collectors were among the rebels, so the issue wasn't just the poll tax but with society as a whole. Unlike rebellions which had come before, which focused on personal ambition and increases in power for those at the top of society, the Great Revolt sought to make society fairer for everybody. As Juliet Barker says, 'Their demands anticipated the French Revolution by four hundred years.' They wanted to end the restrictions placed upon them by their lords as well as the duty to provide free labour to the manor. They wanted freedom in commerce across the country and to work for whom they chose at the wages they deserved. They thought the Church should be reformed, with its extensive lands and wealth seized by the state, and a limit placed on the number of the higher ranks of the clergy.

    The revolt

    Essex and Kent

    The revolt spread quickly through Kent and Essex. Riders were used to carry messages across the counties, and messages were read out to villages, using official-sounding language to rouse the people. In many villages, the rebels targeted their local lords and masters. They attacked the manors and Church lands, seeking documents and the people they considered unjust. Some houses were looted, and some officials or nobles were threatened into giving the rebels either their possessions or their assistance. Perhaps many 'stolen' items were claimed as compensation for money or goods that the rebels considered were wrongly taken from them. In some places, auctions were arranged to buy these goods. At other places, items were destroyed along with the records, perhaps as punishment when the lord was absent.

    Wat Tyler assumed leadership of the Kentish rebels at Maidstone on 7 June 1381. We don't know why this was, and we know very little about him before his sudden appearance: we don't even know whether he was from Kent or Essex. Perhaps he was a roofer by trade (hence his surname) and some accounts say he was a notorious criminal. As Barker suggests, he may have had some military skill, as the Kentish rebels went first to Canterbury, possibly to protect their rear from attack during the march to London. Just as they did with the villages in their path, these rebels inspired the residents of Canterbury to revolt. Prisons were broken into and prisoners, including John Ball, a preacher of social reform, were released.

    John Ball was a dissenting priest, whose preaching was blamed for inciting the revolt. He was excommunicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury Simon Sudbury and a warrant put out for his arrest in 1364 for teaching ideas that went against the Church. He evaded the authorities for several years, and he was only arrested a few weeks before the revolt , suggesting he had friends and supporters within Essex. We don't know from the documents (rather than what the chroniclers said) how much Ball was involved in the revolt. He was certainly blamed for setting some of the goals of the revolt, as demands which mirrored his thinking were expressed by different groups of rebels.

    The March to London

    Court records show that many of those who took part in local insurrections did not march on London. Once they felt they had gained justice for the offences committed against them locally, they went back to their homes. Others, including an Essex group led by the chaplain John Wrawe, marched north to Suffolk, to raise rebellion there. But still large groups of rebels marched from Essex and Kent towards London, and their numbers increased as those along the way joined in. In Southwark many of the locals were inspired to rebel, the Archbishop of Canterbury's manor at Lambeth Palace was sacked, and more prisons were broken into.

    John Ball inspires the rebels

    Medieval chroniclers placed the number of rebels between 60,000 and 100,000. This must be a gross exaggeration, done to make the threat of the insurrection greater. However, the force that collected in London, including those from the shires and the locals, could well have been 10,000. This was more than most armies of the time, and certainly enough to overwhelm anything that could be called in defence at short notice. Many of these rebels met at Blackheath, just outside London. John Ball is alleged to have spoken to the crowd beginning with the couplet:

    When Adam delved and Eve span, Who then was the gentleman?

    According to the same stories, he went on to question the legality of lordship and serfdom , based on stories of the Garden of Eden , and encouraged those listening to restore the natural and original order of humanity.

    The rebels didn’t try to enter the city immediately, and while they were outside Richard II sent messages to them. A meeting was arranged at Rotherhithe, about four miles from Blackheath where the rebels were based. However, on arriving by boat, the King’s party found what seemed to be the entire rebel army waiting. They refused to land, for fear of the King being harmed or abducted, and rowed away.


    It is possible that this incident inspired the rebels to storm London, perhaps to force a meeting with the King. London Bridge was opened to the Kentish, and Aldgate to those from Essex. We don’t know who did this, or why. City aldermen were accused of helping the rebels enter London and some spent a brief spell in the Tower of London as a result. There were certainly sympathisers within the City, and several sources state that city dwellers allowed the rebels to come and go as they pleased.

    Although we don’t know the exact route the rebels took once they entered London, or whether they went as one big group or several smaller groups, we do know where they attacked during the night of 13 June 1381. One of the first places they visited was the palace at the Savoy belonging to John of Gaunt. Gaunt was away negotiating a truce with Scotland, and so avoided the fate of his home, which has destroyed so completely that it was never rebuilt. Everything in it that wouldn’t burn was broken and thrown into the Thames or the sewers. Records suggest the total loss of goods (not the building) from the Savoy Palace was £10,000. Thievery was not allowed, and the rebels took care of thieves themselves: one caught stealing silver was said to have ended up in the flames along with his booty ; and thirty-two who were drunk on Gaunt’s wine were trapped and killed when the cellar collapsed. Other buildings were targeted throughout London. The provincial headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller, the priory of St John of Jerusalem, was sacked and destroyed. The gaols at Newgate, Westminster, Fleet and Marshalsea were broken into and their inmates released, which swelled the numbers of the crowd. The Temple, home of English law and lawyers, was sacked, with documents burned.

    People, as well as buildings, were attacked during the revolt. But, like the buildings in question, the violence generally targeted those thought to have harmed the commoners. Many were lawyers, such as the Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. Others were tax collectors, royal officials and members of the higher clergy. Some victims sought refuge in churches but were dragged out and executed, a blasphemous act and a huge breach of religious protocol.

    Mile End

    With violence and destruction escalating, attempts were made to promise the rebels pardons and a fair hearing for their complaints, if only they were to go home. When this didn't work, Richard II rode out to meet them at Mile End on 14 June 1381. He left many of his advisers, including Simon Sudbury, Robert Hales, and his cousin, the son of John of Gaunt, Henry Bolingbroke, hiding in the Tower. This 14-year-old boy confronted the rebels and asked what they wanted. They replied with a list of demands, including an end to feudalism , that traitors be punished, the abolition of all laws apart from those of Winchester, that church lands be confiscated for the benefit of the people, and a general pardon issued for all those included in the revolt. The King granted most of their demands (although the Statute of Labourers was to remain in place), and set scribes to writing the relevant letters immediately. The Anonimalle Chronicle records ‘The King granted that they should freely seize all who were traitors and could be proved to be such by process of law’. He sealed the letters with the Great Seal, giving them the mark of law. Many rebels, carrying what they considered to be the King’s blessing to execute traitors, returned to their own areas to carry out the sentence. This, Barker believes, was what prompted further uprisings in places like St Albans, Cambridge and Norfolk.

    At some point during or after the Mile End meeting, rebels entered the Tower of London, arrested Sudbury and Hales, and executed them on Tower Hill. Their heads were put on spikes and displayed on Tower Bridge, a typical punishment for traitors. It seems unlikely that the rebels broke into the Tower without help: it cannot be stormed, certainly not in the space of a few hours by a lightly armed ‘mob’. Its design, built to withstand heavy military bombardment, absolutely prevents a group of just 400 men from entering against the wishes of those inside. So, either the rebels had inside help, or they were bearing proof that they were acting in the King’s name. When they were given entry, they arrested only five of those inside, and did very little damage, which are hardly the actions of a crazed mob. Aside from Hales and Sudbury, the victims included the King’s sergeant-at-arms, John Legge, who had gained a name for himself during the re-assessment for the poll tax; a much-favoured physician of John of Gaunt, the Franciscan friar William Appleton; and a petty lawyer, Richard Somenour of Stepney, who had been targeted by the rebels and sought protection in the Tower.

    Whatever happened in the Tower of London, the executions seemed to spark an increase in violence. Immigrant Flemings , who attracted suspicion and jealousy, were targeted, with scores killed. With this increase and with many rebels unwilling to return home, the remaining government became desperate. A proclamation was made threatening that Gaunt would return from Scotland at the head of an army of 20,000 men. When this didn't have the desired effect, Richard again suggested meeting with the rebels, this time at Smithfield.


    On 15 June 1381, Wat Tyler and Richard II met at Smithfield. The King asked Tyler why the rebels didn’t go home, and Tyler asked for further concessions. We don’t know what happened next, or what Tyler did to provoke a reaction, although it seems he did something to offend the King. His arrest was ordered (by either Richard or William Walworth), and in response Tyler tried to stab Walworth, who was protected by armour underneath his cloak. Walworth struck back with a dagger blow to the head, knocking Tyler off his horse, and one of the King’s esquires, Ralph Standissh, killed Tyler with his sword. In the confusion that followed, the rebels looked ready to draw their bows, but Richard rode towards them and declared himself their captain. He asked them to think about what they were doing, and to leave peacefully. They were to leave their banners and letters there, but the pardons would be honoured. All of the King’s party were rewarded for their actions that day: Richard knighted those, including Walworth and Standissh, who were not knights and gave other rewards to those who already were.

    One of the biggest questions about the day was whether the murder of Wat Tyler was planned, and if so, if it was by Richard, or someone else. If it was planned, it was a risky strategy, with armed and angry rebels not far away. Tyler’s murder almost made them attack the King’s party, and it was only the quick thinking of Richard that prevented it. Would Richard or his advisers really have risked it on purpose? However, if the reports of some chroniclers that there was a militia on standby were true, then this might make a pre-planned attack on Tyler more likely.

    Whatever the cause, the wind was taken out of the rebels’ sails and they returned home. The King and his advisers turned their attention to the Londoners who were using the revolt to settle old scores. Tyler’s head replaced Sudbury's on a pike and the leaders were hunted down and punished.

    A countrywide rebellion

    It is generally thought that the revolt happened just in the south and east of the country, with the main events centring on London. Although it did start in Essex and Kent, and London, being the capital, bore the brunt of it, the revolt was by no means limited to this area. On 23 and 24 June, royal writs were issued demanding the rebels to be resisted, arrested, and punished in York, Bridgwater, Beverley, Scarborough, Kingston-upon-Hull, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bath, Bristol and Oxford.

    Many of these rebellions were inspired by the same issues that had caused the initial revolt in Essex, and also sought to address long-standing feuds between the townspeople and their perceived oppressors, be they members of the clergy or powerful and corrupt local officials. It is possible that many of these later outbreaks were directly caused by Richard’s letters, written at Mile End, and which legitimised the acts of the rebels. As Barker points out, if Richard had not written the letters, or if he had withdrawn his support earlier, then many of those involved in these outbreaks would not have joined in, and the country would have been spared much of the revolt.


    Wat Tyler wasn't the only rebel to be summarily executed in the following days and months. The government, keen to discourage anyone from rebelling again, set up commissions across the country to try, and execute, rebel leaders. But many rebels weren't given a trial and were killed while fleeing or, in one case, when handing in a petition. Nor could those brought to trial expect any better. The commissions, although technically forming proper and fair courts of law, were for much of the country anything but. Many of the victims of the revolt sat on these commissions, and often acted as prosecution and judge. Several of the accused were illegally tried for treason, even though the definition didn't apply. Punishment could be severe, with hundreds being executed. John Ball was convicted on very scanty evidence and hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of the King on 15 July 1381. Nothing was proved about his whereabouts during the revolt, and he was convicted on the basis that some letters he had written were found in a rebel’s pocket. His main crime seems to have been his criticism of those who abused their power. The Monk of Westminster recorded that:

    The royal judges were now everywhere to be seen in session, inquiring into the activities of the conspirators and giving the guilty short shrift. Gibbets rose where none had been before, since existing ones were too few for the bodies of the condemned. Many who had been privy to the insurrection took to flight to avoid sharing the arrest and bitter fate suffered by others.

    A general pardon was eventually made available to the rebels, but it had to be bought by each individual, after they had admitted to involvement in the rebellion. Over 200 leaders and those considered to have committed terrible crimes were excluded from the pardon. Victims of the revolt were also able to receive compensation or the return of their goods directly from those responsible, allowing them to skip the normal judicial process. This led to corruption, with people naming those they disliked or using the opportunity to get more than they lost. One bishop accused six hundred people of stealing from him. The situation became so bad this right was withdrawn and normal judicial procedure resumed.

    Although the Peasants' Revolt has been hailed as the beginning of the end of feudalism, it is unlikely it had any direct effect at all. Villeinage did in the end die out, although it was never officially abolished and continued into the Tudor period: Elizabeth I sold off some of her villeins to raise money. However, more and more tenants refused to undertake the work expected of them, or refused to take up tenancies with labour dues attached. This, combined with economic pressures, such as a drop in the price of grain, meant more and more tenants would become ‘free’. John Ball’s role in the revolt led to a tightening by the Church on wandering preachers and potential heresy , which had an impact on movements such as the Lollards . This in turn led to the introduction in 1401 of burning at the stake as a punishment for heresy. Perhaps the biggest effect the revolt had was that it would be over 600 years before another poll tax was levied.

    Did Richard support the rebels?

    Richard II, ascended the throne aged only 10 years

    We don’t know what Richard thought about the rebels, but we do know that he granted their demands, wrote official letters empowering the rebels, and then revoked this power over two weeks later. Does this mean that he supported them, and then changed his mind? Or was the support just a show to make the rebels leave?
    The chroniclers of the day, and most modern historians, think that Richard agreed to the rebels’ demands under duress, that he never meant them and just wanted to end the rebellion. After all, Wat Tyler and other rebels were killed, and Richard did in the end withdraw his support. But if this was the case, why did it take him so long to cancel the letters? Perhaps he was busy with controlling the rebellion in the counties, and didn't have time to think about them? Or maybe, as Barker suggests, this delay was because Richard was reluctant either to go back on his word or to end his support for reform. His concern for the rebel cause could perhaps be seen when he questioned Parliament in November 1381 on whether he had been right to withdraw his support. Unsurprisingly, with so many vested interests, the unanimous answer (after some debate with the lords) was ‘yes’. He also established a commission to consider the causes of the revolt, in order to prevent a similar situation from happening again. Yet royal commissions to punish the rebels were organised within days of the Smithfield meeting. If Richard favoured the rebels, then surely this wouldn't have been the case. Furthermore, Richard is meant to have said to a group of rebels:
    Rustics you were and rustics you are still; you will remain in bondage, not as before but incomparably harsher. For as long as we live and, by God’s grace, rule over the realm, we will strive with mind, strength and goods to suppress you so that the rigour of your servitude will be an example to posterity.
    This doesn't seem to show much sympathy. Even if the strength of Richard’s words was exaggerated to fit with the lords wishes, it seems unlikely the sentiment was entirely wrong: it would not have been wise to lie about the King’s words.

    In 1381, Richard was still a boy. Even if he favoured the rebel cause, Parliament and his advisers had made it clear that they would never abandon villeinage, as it was in their interests to keep it. Maybe he was overruled by these people. In his later years, this is something he would do less and less, which eventually led to his usurpation by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke. Certainly both Barker and David Horspool agree Richard's character changed after the revolt, and that he learnt lessons from it. The young Richard must have been impressed that by sheer force of his personality, he had managed to contain the revolt. This, surely, gave him ideas about the divine right of kings. He developed the idea that he didn't need Parliament to rule, instead relying on a few close friends, whom he promoted personally. Perhaps, by the time he was old enough to rule alone, he had had enough of being overruled by his advisers.

    Were the peasants really revolting?

    Our view of the Peasants' Revolt is coloured by the people who wrote about it, as well as by the views of our own society. Even the name of the revolt has been affected. The term 'the Peasants' Revolt' suggests the rebels were all poor, and all from the countryside. Its name came about during the 19th and 20th centuries, when Marxist historians wrote history through their own economic view, which saw the revolt as a down-trodden economic group rising up against its oppressors. In reality, it was a complicated process with complicated origins, and the name is now starting to fall out of use.

    It was not always the poorest who were involved in the revolt: many rebels were from the squeezed middle classes, overburdened helping their neighbours pay the poll tax. They included members of the clergy, such as the vicar of Ware Philip of Hertford, lesser members of the nobility, and landholders who hand been treated badly in the courts. People like Thomas atte Raven, the former MP for Rochester, were 'principal and chief malefactor [s]', leading Kentish rebels through Southwark, targeting prisons (including England’s oldest prison, the Clink), and the houses of jurors and professional informers.

    Nor were all of the protesters from the countryside: a large number of Londoners – as well as those from other towns – took part in the revolt. Following the revolt, more Londoners were excluded from the right to claim a pardon than those from Kent and Essex. As such, it is not possible to name it as a peasants’ revolt. Although protesters from Kent and Essex might have sparked the revolt in London, there had already been unrest in London – directed particularly at John of Gaunt – during the previous decade. And these Londoners weren't all downtrodden, but were goldsmiths and innkeepers, craftsmen and artisans, and even William Brampton, the gatekeeper of Cripplegate.

    Just as we have a narrow view of those involved in the revolt, so we have a limited understanding of their actions. The accounts of the revolt were written by the victors, most of whom were clerics and all of whom felt their place in the world had been threatened. The chroniclers focused on unrestrained violence and theft, and their language is chosen to support this. But there is a lot of evidence to suggest the Peasants' Revolt wasn’t simply a rabble and a mob. They used written proclamations, they seemed to have some strategy in deciding their targets, and generally they showed restraint in their behaviour. Many people might well have thought they were operating within the law, which is understandable given Richard's show of support for the rebel demands. Furthermore, the language of the law, which was always focused towards the better-off, and which can still be seen in the court records, accentuates this. So 'with force and arms', a common phrase associated with the revolt, does not always mean with violence. It can simply be the act of entering someone's property uninvited, by, for example, jumping a wall. There was obviously some aspect of violence and theft, as there is in any demonstration, no matter how peaceful its aims. But it’s that 10% that ‘spoil it for the rest of us’.

    The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 | Get History 25 Nov 2018.

    You have to know about feudalism and serfdom before you can appreciate this event.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jagdmesser View Post
    You have to know about feudalism and serfdom before you can appreciate this event.
    Both of which were introduced by the Normans. No such system existed before then. What this in effect was was a rebellion of the native English against their Norman oppressors.

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