Thursday, 16 June 2011

It's not just Bloom's Day

It was also the anniversary, a couple of days ago, of the Peasants' Revolt. They invaded London, camped at Blackheath (now an extremely rich area), trashed John of Gaunt's palace and raided the Tower of London, executed the Chancellor, who was also the Archbishop of Canterbury, and presented a very democratic set of demands - an end to feudalism, free movement, decent wages, cancellation of the Poll Tax. Then they were tricked by Richard II and savagely massacred.

I've just bought Rodney Hilton's Bond Men Made Free: Medieval Peasant Movements and the English Rising of 1381 to mark the occasion. It was of course the last good thing to emerge from Essex.

Now we're going on strike again (June 30th), it's a good moment to muse on the possibilities inherent in mass action. Though I'm hoping George Osborne isn't in charge, because the Baronet will definitely initiate a massacre.

(Also in the post: New Woman novel Gallia of 1895, and Fred Inglis's History of Celebrity, for an MA module I'm running next year.

No comments: