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John Ball - Life Stories, Books, and Links
 
Biographical Information

Stories about John Ball

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

Recommended links
 
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
 
John Ball   (? - 1381)
 
Category:  English Literature
 
Born: Died: 1381
 
Related authors:
William Morris
 
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John Ball - LIFE STORIES
 
 
6/12/1381     John Ball & William Morris
On this day in 1381, preacher John Ball spoke at Blackheath to those assembled for the Peasants' Revolt, inciting them with perhaps the most provocative rhymed couplet in history: "When Adam delved and Eve span, / Who was then the gentleman?" The rebels apparently took up this chant as they marched to London to demand a life of more than digging and spinning from fourteen-year-old Richard II.
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SELECTED WORKS BY THIS AUTHOR
 
 
No books are presently listed for John Ball in this category. Please contact us if you have a suggestion.
 
FIND BOOKS BY JOHN BALL AT Powell's Books
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SELECTED BOOKS ABOUT (or related to) THIS AUTHOR
 
 
A Dream of John Ball
by William Morris
fiction
 
Chronicles
by Jean Froissart
history
 
The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
by R. B. Dobson
history
 
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BBC
Find a number of articles on British history, including the essay titled "Richard II and the Crisis of Authority":

"In England, as elsewhere in Europe in the late 14th century, authority was under challenge. The ordinary people of the land were growing restive. In June 1381, in southern England, peasant anger at their low status in society spilled over into violent rebellion, and for a few days London lay at the mercy of the mob...."
Britannia.com
An article titled "The History of the Peasants' Revolt" explores the roots of the 1381 revolt:

"The immediate cause of the revolt was the unprecedented amount of taxation the peasantry faced from the Government. The poll tax of 1380 was three times higher than that of the previous year and, unlike its predecessor, taxed rich and poor at the same rate. Hence, it was very unpopular with the peasantry. However, the main call of the peasant rebels was for the abolition of serfdom. This was because, since the middle of the century, their lords had prevented them from making the most of the changing economic conditions. Visitations of the plague since 1348/9 had reduced the population by between a third and a half. As a result, labour became more scarce, wages rose and the economy began to suit the peasant more than it suited the landowner. However, the landowners of Parliament legislated to keep wages low and to restrict the free movement of serfs. Locally, landowners in their capacity as manorial lords also tried to tighten the feudal dues that serfs were obliged to carry out for them. Needless to say, the peasantry resented both these measures and there were local revolts both in the decade before and after 1381. Hence, the rebels attacked symbols of lordship and lordly authority, such as manors and manorial records."
Medieval Sourcebook
Offers a large selection of historical records from medieval times on culture, society and economy, theology, monoasticism and religion, government, wars, laws, feudalism, trade, tolls and taxes, the crusades, intellectual life, slavery, sex and gender, and other topics. Highly recommended.
Sources of British History
Find historical documents, including an account of the final meeting between King Richard II and Wat Tyler, the leader of the Peasant's Revolt.

"... the Mayor had his head set on a pole and borne before him to the King, who still abode in the Fields. And when the King saw the head he had it brought near him to abash the commons, and thanked the Mayor greatly for what he had done. And when the commons saw that their chieftain, Watt Tyler, was dead in such a manner, they fell to the ground there among the wheat, like beaten men, imploring the King for mercy for their misdeeds. And the King benevolently granted them mercy, and most of them took to flight. But the King ordained two knights to conduct the rest of them, namely the Kentishmen, through London, and over London Bridge, without doing them harm, so that each of them could go to his own home."
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April 18, 2014
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