Faculty Advisor

Elizabeth Swedo


The English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 is a pivotal moment in Britain’s history. The complaints of the peasantry during the revolt would echo through the following centuries. The chronicles of Jean Froissart, Henry Knighton, Thomas Walsingham, as well as the Anonimalle Chronicle recorded the events before, during, and after the uprising and gave sometimes conflicting interpretations of the Revolt. Analyzing these chronicles and other medieval documents, historians have developed their own idea explanation of the motivations of the Peasants’ Revolt ranging from social, to political, to economic, or to religious incentives for rebelling—or some combination of these factors. With an issue as complicated as the Peasants’ Revolt, these motivations were likely to have been heavily intertwined. It is the goal of this paper to piece various chronicles, court cases, and labor legislation together with the secondary scholarship of other historians and show the underlying tensions of the Peasants’ Revolt: a drive for economic security. Although the common people reacted to a variety of religious, political, social and economic concerns during the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, a quest for economic security was an underlying motivation for people of all social and economic statuses.

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