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Tower of London

The Peasants' Revolt was an uprising in England in 1381, brought on by economic and social upheaval that had been growing since the Black Death thirty years earlier. The rebels, coming from a wide spectrum of rural society, sought a reduction in the high taxes financing the Hundred Years' War, an end to the system of unfree labour known as serfdom and the removal of the King's senior officials and law courts. Inspired by the radical cleric John Ball and led by Wat Tyler, Kentish rebels entered London on 13 June. They destroyed the Temple Inns of Court and set fire to law books. The following day, the fourteen-year-old King Richard acceded to most of the rebels' demands, including the abolition of serfdom; meanwhile, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord High Treasurer were killed in the Tower of London (pictured). On 15 June Richard met Tyler and the rebels at Smithfield, but violence broke out and Tyler was killed by the king's party. A London militia then dispersed the rebel forces and Richard rescinded his previous grants to the rebels. Troubles extended as far as East Anglia, Yorkshire and Somerset, but most of the rebel leaders were tracked down and executed, and at least 1,500 rebels were killed. (Full article...)

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