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King Richard and his Council go down the Thames in a barge to confer with the rebels.

King Richard and his Council go down the Thames in a barge to confer with the rebels.
King Richard and his Council go down the Thames in a barge to confer with the rebels.
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: PU1424
Description: High taxation (because of a failing war with France), together with an unpopular government during the 1370s, heightened tensions between the peasantry and their lords. In the summer of 1381, revolt broke out after the introduction of a poll tax. The rising was particularly well organised and effective in Kent and Essex. The rebels converged on London and by 12 June were camped at Mile End and Blackheath. During the next few days, the different bands of rebels from Essex and Kent were joined by London's poor. They then set about executing ministers (including Archbishop Sudbury of Canterbury) and sacking the palaces of unpopular bishops and lords. Richard II met the peasants at Smithfield and defused a tense situation after the Mayor of London had killed the peasants' leader, Wat Tyler. Richard's government promised many concessions - including the abolition of serfdom - but it broke its word when the peasants dispersed.
Creator: John Harris (engraver)
Date: 1804
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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