Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years.
The Peasants' Revolt began in the Essex village of Fobbing in May 1381. It started with the arrival of a royal tax commissioner, John Bampton, enquiring into evasion of the new poll-tax. As a JP and former sheriff of Essex, Bampton was typical of the local notables against whom the risings were directed. Supported by men from nearby villages, the rebellion had begun and quickly spread through the county. This episode was first broadcast in 2002.
Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.
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This was not a very good summary of the events which make up the Peasants Revolt. I say this as a publishing medieval historian. This may serve as a half hour abridged summary of the plot points which underpinned the flawed interpretations of many 19th and early 20th Century scholars on the subject. But even then, you'd have fairy major gaps. They did not even mention the orchestrated destruction by the peasants of the documentary evidence (tax records) of their servile past, which allowed them to negotiate fairer wages for the rest of the century. Frankly, most shocking of all, the king's moment of awe-inspiring courageousness following the death of Tyler, which is very much a set piece of the events, goes completely unmentioned by the chattering fellows.
I suppose as a refresher for those who already know the event fairly well, this might suffice, but as the sort of primer for which it is advertised? Absolutely worthless.
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