Watt Tyler and the Peasants’ Revolt, London, 1381
The Black Death led to a shortage of agricultural labour and thus to changing relationships between landowners and agricultural workers. To pay for war with France, the 14 year old King Edward II imposed another but excessive “Poll” tax. His government, dominated by the aristocracy and the church, was widely hated.
Peasants and freeman rebelled. A force of around 60,000 from Kent entered London. The Kentish force, led by Watt Tyler, attacked key buildings and beheaded many leading figures of the regime.
Watt Tyler was murdered during a meeting with the King. Leaderless and misled by the King, the rebellion subsided.
Although unsuccessful, the Peasants’ Revolt marks the beginning of the end of serfdom.
One of a set of eight images from Red Saunders’ Hidden Project.
The Hidden Project
The Hidden Project recreates great moments in the long struggle of working people for democracy and social justice. The aim of the project, through reimagining those events, is to reproduce important historic scenes involving the dissenters, revolutionaries, radicals and non-conformists who have so often been hidden from history. Tony Benn, Patron of the Hidden Project, says “Those who see these photographic representations will then be able to identify with past generations and gain confidence from the knowledge that they are part of a world-wide movement that has always existed and must be sustained.”
Red Saunders is a professional photographer who combines his photographic practice with cultural, musical and political activism.
Images copyright Red Saunders 2011. Retouching by Adrian Hayes.
Further information and full credit list of supporters and volunteers on ‘The Hidden Project’ go to the website: www.redsaundersphoto.eu.