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1381 : the year of the Peasants' Revolt by Juliet Barker

By Juliet Barker

Written with the fluency readers have come to count on from Juliet Barker, 1381: The 12 months of the Peasants’ Revolt presents an account of the 1st nice renowned rebellion in England and its heritage, and paints on a vast canvas an image of English existence in medieval instances. Skeptical of latest chroniclers’ bills of occasions, Barker attracts at the judicial assets of the indictments and court docket court cases that the uprising. This emphasis bargains a clean point of view at the so-called Peasants’ rebellion and offers intensity and texture to the historic narrative. one of the book’s arguments are that the rebels believed they have been the unswerving matters of the king appearing in his pursuits, and that the boy-king Richard II sympathized with their grievances.

Barker tells how and why a various and not likely staff of standard women and men from each nook of England―from servants and workers dwelling off wages, in the course of the village elite who served as bailiffs, constables, and stewards, to the ranks of the gentry―united in armed uprising opposed to church and nation to call for a thorough political time table. Had it been applied, this time table may have remodeled English society and expected the French Revolution via 400 years. 1381: The yr of the Peasants’ Revolt is a crucial reassessment of the rebellion and a desirable, unique research of medieval existence in England’s cities and countryside.

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From these commissions of array were chosen the local levies, who would turn out to resist invasions by the Scots and French, including those of 1377. Edward III’s law of 1363 requiring every able-bodied man between the ages of sixteen and sixty to practise at the archery butts every Sunday and feast day fulfilled its intended purpose of ensuring that the kingdom had a ready supply of trained and wellequipped soldiers standing by; the unintended consequence was that half the population was legally armed with at least longbow, sword and dagger, and knew how to use them.

Balle’s instruction to withhold tithes from priests who were richer or less moral than their parishioners finds echoes in the preaching of his contemporary, the Franciscan friar Thomas Richmond, who told vast crowds gathered to hear him on the outskirts of York that ‘A priest fallen into mortal sin is not a priest. Again I say that he is not a priest; and thirdly I say that before God he is no priest’; he even argued that secular judges should cleanse the Church of immorality by jailing offenders.

The humblest carter on a great monastic estate could find himself driving two-wheeled carts or the more cumbersome four-wheeled wagons pulled by a team of draught animals to the coast to collect barrels of fish or wine, or to one of the great towns to pick up spices and incense. Freemen were required to travel regularly to the hundred courts and shire courts to act as jurors, transact business and pursue or defend legal action; male villeins over the age of twelve were also obliged to make one or two annual trips to the hundred courts to prove that they were enrolled in a tithing, the basic administrative unit for enforcing justice.

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