South Park: The Stick Of Truth Build 1380
Over the next few decades, economic opportunities increased for the English peasantry. Some labourers took up specialist jobs that would have previously been barred to them, and others moved from employer to employer, or became servants in richer households. These changes were keenly felt across the south-east of England, where the London market created a wide range of opportunities for farmers and artisans. Local lords had the right to prevent serfs from leaving their manors, but when serfs found themselves blocked in the manorial courts, many simply left to work illegally on manors elsewhere. Wages continued to rise, and between the 1340s and the 1380s the purchasing power of rural labourers increased by around 40 percent. As the wealth of the lower classes increased, Parliament brought in fresh laws in 1363 to prevent them from consuming expensive goods formerly only affordable by the elite. These sumptuary laws proved unenforceable, but the wider labour laws continued to be firmly applied.
South Park: The Stick of Truth Build 1380
In November 1380, Parliament was called together again in Northampton. Archbishop Simon Sudbury, the new Lord Chancellor, updated the Commons on the worsening situation in France, a collapse in international trade, and the risk of the Crown having to default on its debts. The Commons were told that the colossal sum of 160,000 was now required in new taxes, and arguments ensued between the royal council and Parliament about what to do next. Parliament passed a third poll tax (this time on a flat-rate basis of 12 pence on each person over 15, with no allowance made for married couples) which they estimated would raise 66,666. The third poll tax was highly unpopular and many in the south-east evaded it by refusing to register. The royal council appointed new commissioners in March 1381 to interrogate local village and town officials in an attempt to find those who were refusing to comply. The extraordinary powers and interference of these teams of investigators in local communities, primarily in the south-east and east of England, raised still further the tensions surrounding the taxes.
The discontent began to give way to open protest. In 1377, the "Great Rumour" occurred in south-east and south-west England. Rural workers organised themselves and refused to work for their lords, arguing that, according to the Domesday Book, they were exempted from such requests. The workers made unsuccessful appeals to the law courts and the King. There were also widespread urban tensions, particularly in London, where John of Gaunt narrowly escaped being lynched. The troubles increased again in 1380, with protests and disturbances across northern England and in the western towns of Shrewsbury and Bridgwater. An uprising occurred in York, during which John de Gisborne, the city's mayor, was removed from office, and fresh tax riots followed in early 1381. There was a great storm in England during May 1381, which many felt to prophesy future change and upheaval, adding further to the disturbed mood.
The Kentish advance on London appears to have been coordinated with the movement of the rebels in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Their forces were armed with weapons including sticks, battle axes, old swords and bows.[nb 5] Along their way, they encountered Lady Joan, the King's mother, who was travelling back to the capital to avoid being caught up in the revolt; she was mocked but otherwise left unharmed. The Kentish rebels reached Blackheath, just south-east of the capital, on 12 June.[nb 6]
Next to be attacked along Fleet Street was the Savoy Palace, a huge, luxurious building belonging to John of Gaunt. According to the chronicler Henry Knighton it contained "such quantities of vessels and silver plate, without counting the parcel-gilt and solid gold, that five carts would hardly suffice to carry them"; official estimates placed the value of the contents at around 10,000. The interior was systematically destroyed by the rebels, who burnt the soft furnishings, smashed the precious metal work, crushed the gems, set fire to the Duke's records and threw the remains into the Thames and the city drains. Almost nothing was stolen by the rebels, who declared themselves to be "zealots for truth and justice, not thieves and robbers". The remains of the building were then set alight. In the evening, rebel forces gathered outside the Tower of London, from where the King watched the fires burning across the city. 041b061a72