The People of 1381 - a free launch event

The People of 1381 - a free launch event

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Essex Record Office

Wharf Road



United Kingdom

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A half day launch event for The People of 1381 project.

About this event

This is the launch for an innovative new research project set to produce the most comprehensive interpretation of the Peasants' Revolt to date.

The revolt was one of the largest popular uprisings in medieval Europe and rocked the country in the summer of 1381. 'The People of 1381' will shed new light on the complex economic, social and political dynamics of the rebellion, to enhance our understanding of its social ideology and cultural impact.

Central to the project is the creation of a database to provide the first overview of events, places and people involved. Judicial and manorial documents are combined with records of central and local government, poll tax records and more, to reconstruct collective biographies of the people caught up in the rising. The database is hosted on this website along with digitised primary sources and a regular feature 'People and Places Profiles' and will be available for public searching from 15 June 2022 (

In addition to developing case studies of individual rebels and their victims, the project is a unique 'history from below', using an unparalleled set of medieval records to investigate the participation of social groups whose role has been little investigated, such as women, soldiers and different groups of tenants.

Programme for The People of 1381

Registration: 13:00-13:30

Welcome: 13:30-13:35

Martin Astell, Essex Record Office Manager

Talk 1: 13:35-14:00

Katharine Schofield, an overview of the documents that relate to 1381 held by ERO

Talk 2: 14:00-14:30

Introduction from MA student Finn Hardy and presentation of response to project by Film, Theatre and Television students from the University of Reading (includes a short film)

Break: 14:30-15:15, tea and cake will be served

Talk 3: 15:15-15:45

The database – The project team, led by Dr Helen Killick

Talk 4: 15:45-16:40

Key findings – The project team, led by Dr Helen Lacey

Poetry reading: 16:40-16:55

The Peasant’s Revolt read by the poet Luke Wright

From our collaboration with The Poetry Society

Conclusion & thanks: 16:55-17:00

Martin Astell

The People of 1381 project team – Professor Adrian R Bell, Professor Anne Curry, Dr Herbert Eiden, Dr Helen Killick, Dr Helen Lacey, Professor Andrew Prescott, Jason Sadler and Ian Waldock.

Please visit for details of our nearest public car parks.

The People of 1381 - a free launch event image

Please note that the programme might be subject to last minute change due to any unforeseen circumstances.

Title Image:

Miniature from Jean de Wavrin, Recueil des Croniques et Anchiennes Istories de la Grant Bretaigne, à present nommé Engleterre, showing, right, rebels entering London in 1381; left, the slaying of Sir Robert Salle by rebels at Norwich; and centre background, the killing of Wat Tyler before the King at Smithfield. The carrying of banners with St George's cross was a distinctive action of the 1381 rebels from Bridgwater to Derbyshire. This manuscript was made at Bruges between 1471 and 1490. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS français 78, f. 96r. Public domain image from

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