Wat Tyler

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Wat Tyler
Known for Peasants' Revolt

Tyler, Wat,

d. 1381, English rebel. His given name appears in full as Walter; his surname signifies the trade of a roof tiler. He came into prominence as the leader of the rebellion of 1381, known as the Peasants' Revolt. The revolt had its origins in the plague of 1348–49, which had swept away nearly a third of the population of England. The result was a scarcity of labor and a rise in wages. In 1351, Parliament passed the Statute of Labourers to hold down wages. This proved almost impossible to enforce but aroused much resentment among the peasantry. Another source of discontent was the fact that landlords were attempting to stem the new mobility of labor by asserting their ancient manorial rights. This unrest flared into rebellion when the poll tax was increased in 1380. The first outbreak came in Essex, but the trouble soon spread to Kent, where Tyler was chosen as leader. The rebels seized Canterbury and then proceeded to London, their number increasing on the way. After an unsuccessful attempt to interview Richard IIRichard II,
1367–1400, king of England (1377–99), son of Edward the Black Prince. Early Life

After his father's death (1376) he was created prince of Wales and succeeded his grandfather, Edward III, to the throne.
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, Tyler led the mob into the city, where it plundered and burned many houses (including the Savoy Palace, residence of John of Gaunt) and the Fleet and Newgate prisons. On June 14 the king met some of the rebels at Mile End and agreed to their demands to abolish serfdom, feudal service, market monopolies, and restrictions on buying and selling. At the same time, however, or immediately thereafter, Tyler and another group of rebels captured the Tower of London and killed the archbishop of Canterbury and several other officials. The following day Tyler met the king at Smithfield, where he presented new demands, including one for the confiscation of all church property. In an exchange of blows with the mayor of London, Tyler was mortally wounded and died soon afterward. The king, though a boy of 14, cowed the mob and held them at bay until the mayor brought up armed support. The rebels dispersed, and the revolt, which had raged over all England, was put down with severity. King Richard immediately revoked the Mile End grants.


See C. Oman, The Great Revolt of 1381 (1906, repr. 1969); R. B. Dobson, ed., The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 (1970); R. H. Hilton and T. H. Aston, English Rising of 1381 (1987).

References in periodicals archive ?
The earlier Peasants' Revolt under Wat Tyler actually took place during the reign of Richard II.
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John Gower described the revolt in his Vox Clamantis; Robert Southey, in his dramatic poem Wat Tyler (1817).
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The pair were eventually pulled out on to a dinghy after two hours trapped in the tidal creek, near Wat Tyler Country Park, Essex, on Saturday.
By 1381 he joined forces with Wat Tyler in Kent and led a rebellion, dubbed the Peasants' Revolt.
TODAY FEASTOFST ANTHONY PADUA 1381: Wat Tyler led the first popular rebellion - against unpopular taxes - in English history.
74m); 6 Millennium; 7 Pizzicato; 8 Bath; 9 White Heat; 10 Wat Tyler.
And the fact that we could come up with another hundred just as impressive (Kipling, Milton, SAS hero Blair Mayne, Georgie Best, Stan Laurel, Wat Tyler, Constable, Shelley, the Duke of Marlborough, etc) is just another reason for quiet national pride.
Wat Tyler and the boys had the last serious crack in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, but radical change in this country has always been stealthy rather than seismic.
1381: Wat Tyler led a rebellion against unpopular taxes that has become known as the Peasants' Revolt.