The Twickenham Museum
Timeline : 1300 - 1400

The Peasants' Revolt
Twickenham plundered and burnt
1381

During the Spring and Summer of 1381 discontent over taxation and other injustices led to peasant risings in Essex and in Kent. It was the Kentish rebels who moved on London in June, led by Wat Tyler and urged on by the priest John Ball with his sermon "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then a gentleman?" Emptying the Marshalsea prison, in Southwark, they moved over London Bridge destroying the Savoy (the palace of John of Gaunt), and other great houses, eventually seizing the Tower and executing unpopular individuals, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

On 15th June the young King Richard II, barely fifteen years of age, rode out with the Mayor of London, William Walworth, and others, to meet Tyler and the rebels at Smithfield. There the King conceded most of the rebel demands (these were later revoked). Wat Tyler then overplayed his hand with further demands. Angry words were exchanged, the Mayor struck Tyler, pulled him off his horse and a squire killed him. A different record states that the Lord Mayor drew his dagger and slashed at Tyler. Badly injured with a knife wound in his neck, Tyler was taken to nearby St Bartholomew’s Hospital where his death was ensured. At this point the young King intervened calling on the rebels to follow him, which they did. In due course they dispersed peacefully.

But the infection of revolt had spread and many parts of England were in turmoil. Villages around London -Clapham, Croydon, Harrow, Hendon, Chiswick, and Twickenham, and many others-were plundered and burnt.

Written records of Twickenham in 1381 do not shed light on the event. However, it might not have been a coincidence that John York was admitted to substantial lands here in this year.

further reading:

May McKisack, The Oxford History of England Volume V, "The 14th Century 1307-1399", OUP 1959. p414.
Sir John Froissart’s Chronicles, vol 2, chapter CXXXV, p459 et seq, 1804

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