The peasants’ revolt: choosing the right pitchfork

Peasants’ Revolt

The Peasants’ Revolt, also called Wat Tyler’s Rebellion, in 1381 was the first great rebellion in English history. The cause was the imposition of the unpopular poll tax of 1380, which was a response to huge economic discontent. The participants included well-to-do artisans and villeins as well as the poor.

The main grievance of the agricultural labourers and urban working classes was the Statute of Labourers (1351), which attempted to fix maximum wages during the labour shortage after the plague. All sounds familiar, eh?

The uprising was centred in the south-eastern counties and the peasants marched toward London. The Kentish men under their leader Wat Tyler entered London, and the government was made to negotiate. The Kentish rebels forced the surrender of the Tower of London and the chancellor and the treasurer, both of whom were held responsible for the poll tax, were beheaded.

It all ended badly for the rebels, but let’s not dwell too much on that: it is an inspiring example for our times.

Today Britain faces a very similar set of circumstances and I would like to provide two practical suggestions:
1. Please sign the petition demanding an immediate General Election. Hundreds of thousands are now signing.
2. It is unlikely that the first suggestion will make any difference whatsoever. So please heed this extra advice. When preparing for a Peasants’ Revolt, you need to be tooled up. These sorts of occasions require the right pitchfork.