The Peasants’ Revolt: did Richard II side with the rebels?

Juliet Barker explains how the 1381 Peasants' Revolt may have found an unlikely champion – the boy-king himself

An illustration of the Peasants' Revolt

This article was first published in the November 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

Richard II stood in a turret of the Tower of London and anxiously surveyed the scenes of chaos unfolding below him. It was Thursday 13 June, the feast of Corpus Christi, 1381, and his capital city was in the grip of the greatest popular revolt that England had ever seen. Rebels from the Home Counties, led by the people of Kent and Essex where the rebellion had begun, had joined forces with a volatile London mob and now smoke and flames arose on every side.

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