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 renowned rebellion in England and its history, and paints on a vast canvas an image of English lifestyles in medieval instances. Skeptical of up to date chroniclers money owed of occasions, Barker attracts at the judicial assets of the indictments and court docket lawsuits that the uprising.

This emphasis deals a clean viewpoint at the so-called Peasants insurrection and offers intensity and texture to the old narrative. one of the publication s arguments are that the rebels believed they have been the unswerving topics 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 team of standard women and men from each nook of britain from servants and employees 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 country to call for a thorough political time table. Had it been applied, this time table might have remodeled English society and expected the French Revolution by way 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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Sample text

Merchants were also continually on the move, purchasing wool or corn in the English countryside, travelling overseas to bargain for wine, spices or the essential dyes and chemicals needed for the burgeoning English cloth industry, taking up residence in Calais to supervise the Staple. Churchmen too were frequently to be found on the road, going to London to present their petitions to the king, to Rome to seek preferment from the pope or employment in the papal curia, acting as diplomats or envoys on behalf of Church and state.

The ten per cent of the country that was still covered by woodland was carefully managed by coppicing to provide charcoal, a vital fuel for many industries, mature timber for the construction of buildings and ships and cover for game, which the aristocracy alone was privileged to hunt. A significant new rural industry was also emerging in the years after 1360. 11 Although England remained primarily an agrarian society, some twenty per cent of the population now lived in towns where specialist trades, crafts and markets could flourish more easily than in the countryside.

2 Calais was both an important garrison and bridgehead into France for military campaigns but also, since 1363, the site of the Staple, or monopoly, on all sales of wool and hides exported from England. The merchants of the Staple company controlled the quality and quantity of goods sold abroad, ensured that the king received his customs duties, and regulated transactions between English and foreign merchants. 3 Even at this early period, England was already a seafaring nation. John of Gaunt, in one of Shakespeare’s most memorable speeches, would describe the realm as This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war .

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