English Society XIV-XV centuries

English Society XIV-XV centuries

In English society, there have been some changes. There was an increasing interest in trade, especially overseas, so shipbuilding flourished. Most of the nobles no longer considered entrepreneurship something shameful, they learned how to manage the economy in a new way and increasingly became like the bourgeoisie of cities. But there were also “old” noblemen – those who, as before, lived with income from the royal service and war, rented their land to enterprising people.

But not everyone in the society enjoyed life. As always, many peasants, who were robbed by officials, lived in a hard life, ruined wars, feudal robbery and taxes.

The end of the XIV century. From the story of a medieval author about the situation of English peasants

I saw a poor man

who was following a rogue. His shirt was of coarse cloth… a hood all in the holes, from which stuck out his hair. From his coarse, shaky, nailed shoes, his fingers crawled out… He was all smeared with dirt. His gloves without fingers were sewn from tattered rags, and his fingers were worn and dirty. The poor man was buried in the mud at the very ankles. Ahead of him were four cows, so emaciated that they could count the ribs. His wife was walking by… From the weather, she wrapped herself in a veil of mesh. She walked barefoot on the icy ground, and blood blew from her legs. At the edge of the field was a small garbage box, in it lay a baby wrapped in rags; and on the other hand – two more children of two years of age. They all sang plaintively, their voices merged into one cry-the scream of poverty. The poor plowman sighed sadly and repeated: “

English peasants in the XIV-XV centuries. considered nobles unnecessary society. They asked: “When Adam plowed, and Eve spun, who was then a nobleman?”. But most of all the peasants hated lawyers, because they thought that they were the ones who invented cruel, unjust laws. They had a tooth and the other royal officials, the king, on the contrary, considered their defender.

“Black Death” claimed many human lives, and there was

an acute shortage of labor in the country. That the common people did not demand in connection with this increase of wages, the king obliged the unemployed to hire for work for an old fee. For disobedience thrown into prison, branded with red-hot iron. But the cup of people’s patience was overwhelmed by the introduction of the general tax on military needs, which for many people proved to be unbearable.

In 1381, a menacing uprising broke out in England, led by rural roofer Wat Tyler. The horrors of the French Jacquerie were repeated in England. The rebels killed everyone who wore a feather and inkwell on their belts, because they considered them to be lawyers. They captured London and at the same time assured that they loved their king, they hated only his “bad advisers”. This love for the monarch and crawled out to them sideways. The king began negotiations with their leaders, deceitfully destroyed them, and then easily defeated the rebel forces.

The rebels gathered near London on the same day and unanimously elected as their leader almost no one of the unknown Wat Tyler. All of them wore identical – not cheap – headdresses. So, most likely, this outburst of popular anger was carefully prepared by someone rich and influential. But who exactly is silent about this story.

And yet the revelry of the folk element taught the feudal lords something. The most brutal laws were abolished, taxes were reduced. The lords began to transfer peasants from corvée to money rent. A hundred years after the rebellion of Wait Tyler, there were almost no serfs in the country – the peasants sighed with relief.

Everyone knows exciting ballads about Robin Hood and his loyal friends from the “Merry Brotherhood” – violators of the ban to hunt deer in the royal forest.

The famous noble bandits fought against their sworn enemy – Nottingham sheriff and came to the aid of the offended. But was there really an unsurpassed archer and folk avenger Robin Hood? Maybe he is only the fruit of folk fantasy? Unfortunately, it is not possible to find an answer to this question in historical sources.


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English Society XIV-XV centuries