On this day in 1381 the Peasants Revolt led by Wat Tyler culminated in the burning of the Savoy Palace.
The Peasants’ Revolt, also called Wat Tyler’s Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England in 1381.
The revolt had various causes, including the socio-economic and political tensions generated by the Black Death in the 1340s, the high taxes resulting from the conflict with France during the Hundred Years War, and instability within the local leadership of London.
The final trigger for the revolt was the intervention of a royal official, John Bampton, in Essex on 30 May 1381. His attempts to collect unpaid poll taxes in the town of Brentwood ended in a violent confrontation, which rapidly spread across the south-east of the country.
A wide spectrum of rural society, including many local artisans and village officials, rose up in protest, burning court records and opening the local gaols.
The rebels sought a reduction in taxation, an end to the system of unfree labour known as serfdom and the removal of the King’s senior officials and law courts.