1381: The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt by Juliet Barker

By Juliet Barker

Written with the fluency readers have come to anticipate from Juliet Barker, 1381: The yr of the Peasants’ Revolt offers an account of the 1st nice well known rebellion in England and its historical past, and paints on a huge canvas an image of English existence in medieval occasions. Skeptical of latest chroniclers’ bills of occasions, Barker attracts at the judicial resources of the indictments and courtroom complaints that the uprising. This emphasis bargains a clean point of view at the so-called Peasants’ insurrection and offers intensity and texture to the old narrative. one of the book’s arguments are that the rebels believed they have been the unswerving topics of the king performing 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, throughout the village elite who served as bailiffs, constables, and stewards, to the ranks of the gentry―united in armed uprising opposed to church and country to call for an intensive political time table. Had it been applied, this time table might have remodeled English society and expected the French Revolution by means of 400 years. 1381: The 12 months of the Peasants’ Revolt is a vital reassessment of the rebellion and a desirable, unique learn of medieval existence in England’s cities and countryside.

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So great a multitude was not swept away, it was believed, even by the flood that happened in the days of Noah’, wrote one monastic chronicler. It was a catastrophe on an apocalyptic scale which was explicable only to a medieval society familiar with the biblical stories of Noah’s flood and of the ten plagues inflicted on the Egyptians (which included boils, blood and death of the first-born) as God’s punishment for sin. 7 As a result of the pandemic the population of England, which had probably peaked at around five million in the first half of the fourteenth century, suddenly plummeted by between a third and a half.

12 The following summer the prince sailed for Bordeaux with his new bride, Joan of Kent, and for the next nine years he ruled his new principality with an insensitivity which was not calculated to endear him to his subjects: virtually his last act there was to raze the city of Limoges to the ground for its temerity in surrendering too hastily to the French. 13 The return of the heir to the throne should have been an opportunity to bolster the monarchy but the prince was in no position to take up the reins of government that were slipping from Edward III’s grasp.

As a consequence both personal travel and bulk transportation of goods were often swifter, easier and cheaper than simply using roads, which had to be maintained to be effective, required both bridges strong enough to withstand heavy traffic and an abundant supply of horses and draught animals to cover any distance, and were frequently made impassable by bad weather or difficult terrain. The rivers teemed with boats of every shape and size: coracles, propelled by a single oar and made from basketwork covered with animal hide for the single fisherman or reed-gatherer; larger and sturdier wherries, which were rowed or poled across rivers and marshes to ferry passengers and their horses; shallow clinker-built barges, the workhorses of the river, designed for the bulk transportation of heavy goods such as the iron arrow-heads manufactured in Yorkshire and carried down the Ouse for transportation by sea to the Tower of London.

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