New PDF release: 1381 : the year of the Peasants' Revolt

By Juliet Barker

Written with the fluency readers have come to count on from Juliet Barker, 1381: The yr of the Peasants’ Revolt offers 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’ money owed 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 provides intensity and texture to the historic narrative. one of the book’s arguments are that the rebels believed they have been the dependable 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 crew of normal women and men from each nook of England―from servants and employees residing off wages, during 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 an intensive political schedule. Had it been carried out, this time table may have reworked English society and expected the French Revolution through 400 years. 1381: The 12 months of the Peasants’ Revolt is a vital reassessment of the rebellion and a desirable, unique research of medieval existence in England’s cities and countryside.

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Nothing, not even a royal castle or palace, could compare with the exquisite tracery and soaring pinnacles of a remote Cistercian abbey in Yorkshire or THE STATE OF THE NATION 29 an urban cathedral like Salisbury or Gloucester. For the weary traveller these were landmarks which would be seen hours before they could be reached by road: signposts not only to God’s kingdom but also to the baser pleasures of rest and refreshment. Parish churches too were enjoying a building renaissance in the wake of the plague as grateful survivors sought to extend and beautify their local places of worship by adding porches and steeples and to memorialise themselves and their families by paying for tomb effigies, stained-glass windows and chantry chapels where a priest or priests sang masses continually for the souls of the dead.

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. As we shall see, these ranged from the suppliers of daily essentials such as the tailors, smiths, butchers and grocers to be found in every small town to the more exotic and unusual parchment-makers, embroiderers and goldsmiths plying their skills in the shadows of, and for the benefit of, great cathedrals and monasteries.

The travails, dangers and expense of the journey were regarded as expiation for sin; indeed some pilgrimages were imposed by ecclesiastical and secular authorities as punishment for moral failings and even criminal acts. Other pilgrims voluntarily took up the scallop shells and staff that symbolised their status in order to find a cure for failing health, as an act of thanksgiving for recovery from sickness or, like Chaucer’s knight, for a safe return from campaign, or even, as two veterans of Agincourt would do, in fulfilment of vows they had made on the battlefield.

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