How Far Was Hostility Towards the Landed Classes Responsible for the Outbreak of the Peasants Revolt in 1381? Essay
Hostility towards the landed classes contributed towards the outbreak of the Peasants revolt in 1381, the introduction of poll tax, the 100 years’ war, the Ordinance of Labourers and the Sumptuary Laws are all factors which contributed to the hostility.
After the Black Death the population had a mass decline and many Lords were finding it hard to find peasants to work as many had moved elsewhere for greater pay.The peasants that survived the pestilence felt that they were greater than others and as the manorial lords still wanted the peasants to work for a pittance and remain tired to the land they felt unappreciated and began being resentful of the lords. As the hundred year’s war was going on, the government demanded more money. This came in the introduction of poll tax in 1377-81, everyone over the age of 14 had to pay the same amount which was around 16-20d.The peasants felt this was unfair and felt suppressed, although they were earning less than the lords they still had to pay the same.
This was an unrealistic idea as they had less money and felt as though they were being pushed back down to where they were before which was to the bottom of the social hierarchy. As the hundred year’s war was occurring the French were constantly attacking the coastal towns, and as there was no protection the peasants were being put at risk and felt as though they were being forgotten about.The Ordinance of Labourers was brought in 1349 which was to try and gain control of the peasants and those tied to the land, it stated that they were only to earn as much as they did before the Black Death and that the lords couldn’t pay them more if they demanded it. This was then supported by putting the Statute of Labourers into place which supported the Ordinance of Labourers and was more law than an order. The peasants felt that they weren’t being treated as they should be, and with the Sumptuary Laws being put into place in 1363 the peasants were even more suppressed.It meant that they couldn’t move up the social hierarchy and it prevented them from using their new-found-wealth.
The peasants had worked hard for their money and felt that they deserved to be treated the same as those who earned the same as them (the lords). They couldn’t buy new clothes or buy good food which they felt they deserved, after surviving the Black Death and working hard for their money. Hostility towards the landed classes was responsible for the outbreak of the Peasants Revolt in 1381; this was down to the fact that peasants felt they weren’t being appreciated and being prevented from doing stuff that they felt they deserved.The Statute of Labourers and the Sumptuary Laws were being brought in to prevent the peasants from gaining anymore eminence. The lords were afraid that the peasants with their new found freedom and money, would move up the social hierarchy and take what the lords thought was theirs. They didn’t like how much the peasants had gained and the lords didn’t want to be equal to the peasants.
If the peasants weren’t able to wear the same clothes as the Lords and eat the same foods as them, they couldn’t be classed as equal and so the peasants would always stay at the bottom of the social heap.