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Peasants Black Plague

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Tara Mairs

on 25 November 2012

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Transcript of Peasants Black Plague

"It was estimated by many that hardly a tenth of mankind had been left alive...rents ceased; then the land, because of the lack of tenants...remained uncultivated. So great a misery followed from these evils that the world was never afterward able to return to its former state." Sudden population decrease Peasants in greater demand- prospects shifted in their favour. Overpopulation Peasants unable to oppose serfdom due to their dispensability. Control of nobility over peasants Malthusian Theory: Thomas Malthus http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/PSM_V74_D416_Thomas_Robert_Malthus.png Did the Black Plague of 1347 ultimately provide a positive outcome for the peasant class? Evaluate the effects of the plague on the peasantry of medieval England. King Nobility and Clergy Knights and Vassals Merchants Peasants Vast majority of population Peasants in Medieval England Paid rent to lords for land, homes and gardens within manorial village

Obligations to work on lord's land

This feudal system largely relied on an abundance of labour and a demand for limited land. Unusual Historicals, 2011 (Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, vol. 1, Rolls Series, vol. 28, c. 1400) "As I went on my way, I saw a poor man over the plough bending. His hood was full of holes, And his hair was sticking out,
His shoes were patched. His toes peeped out as he the ground trod. His wife walked by him. In a skirt cut full and high.
Wrapped in a sheet to keep her from the weather.
Bare foot on the bare ice, So that the blood flowed." (William Langland, Piers Plowman, c. 1360-87) Luttrell Psalter, c. 1320-40, British Library, Add. MS 42130 Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493. http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/black-death-3.jpg "Most were forced by being poor to stay at home. They fell ill by the thousands and... almost all died. Many died in the streets and the death of those at home was usually only discovered by neighbours because of the smell of their rotting corpses. Bodies lay all over the place." (Boccaccio, Introduction to the Decameron, c. 1351) Effects of the Black Plague "Walter Halderby took of various persons at reaping time sixpence or eightpence a day, and very often at the same time made various meetings of labourers in different places and advised them not to take less." Accusation from court in Suffolk, late 1300's "As soon as their masters accuse them of bad service, or wish to pay them for their labour according to the form of the statutes, they take flight and suddenly leave their employment and district..." petition from House of Commons, 1376 English Parliament: House of Commons http://www.governinggovernment.info/medvgov.jpg "The World goeth from bad to worse, when shepherd and cowherd for their part demand more for their labour than the master... was wont to take in days gone by. Labourers of old were not wont to eat of wheaten bread, their meat was of beans and coarser corn, and their drink of water alone. Cheese and milk were a feast to them, and rarely ate they of other dainties; their dress was of hodden grey; then was the world ordered aright for folk of this sort..." John Gower: medieval writer, c. 1330 – 1408 .
Much of his work comments on political issues. Vox Clamantis, c. 1400 1349: Ordinance of Labourers 1351: Statute of Labourers 1363: English Sumptuary Law Attempted to stop peasants searching for better work and to keep wages at their pre-plague level. Enforced Ordinance of Labourers Dictated the lifestyle of the peasant class Silver Penny http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/web/images/smr/silver%20penny.jpg The plague-induced labour shortage resulted in a sudden upward trend in peasant wages. "as the expenses of farming rose and profits declined, landlords... ceased the age-long process of cultivating their fields directly and rented them out to peasants instead." C. Warren Hollister, 1990 1377: Richard II introduced poll tax 1380: Richard II tripled the poll tax 1381: Peasants Revolt in London Peasants cannot afford to pay this sum
Causes tensions to reach breaking point John Ball Wat Tyler London Outcast priest
Called peasants to act Leader of the peasants The Peasants' Revolt, 1381 Froissart Chronicles, 1470 MS "John Ball greeteth you well and tells you to understand he has rungen your bell. Now right and might, will and skill, God speak every man. Now is the time." Dean, J.M, 'Literature of Richard II's Reign and the Peasants' Revolt', in Medieval English Political Writings, (Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 1996) Demands of the Peasants' Revolt Abolition of serfdom
Abolition of labour services
Full pardon for peasants who took part in the rebellion
Punishment of the king's advisors "Villeins you are still, and villeins you shall remain." Richard II as quoted by Thomas Walsingham, 1381. After the Black Plague, this was no longer the average peasant lifestyle. Luttrell Psalter, c. 1320-40, British Library, Add. MS 42130 Luttrell Psalter, c. 1320-40, British Library, Add. MS 42130 Portrait of Richard II of England, c. 1390 Timeline of Key Events John Gower, The Mirror of Man, 1375 from Mason, 1991 Peter Bruegel the Elder, The Triumph of Death, 1562 The traditional social order of medieval England:
essentially a result of rural overpopulation. http://sanganakkaamgaar.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/reeve_and_serfs.jpg Peasants paying tax Tax rates tripled as a result of the decrease in population

Peasants could not afford to pay this increased sum

Tensions between the peasants and the nobility reached breaking point Before the plague After the plague Overpopulation

Lords had much available labour and peasant workers were largely dispensable

Peasants had to accept any employment available

Peasants could not afford any of the limited arable land Dramatic decrease in population

Peasants were in high demand and had many employment options available

Lords had to accept any labourers available, even if that meant paying them higher wages

Abundance of arable land meant that some peasants became landowners Plague Nobility Increased Taxes Revolt and its results The Black Plague Domino Effect on the Peasant Class As the higher classes were literate, in contrast to the peasantry, most of the sources available on this topic are written from the perspective of the nobility. An improved standard of life for peasants Brueghel, The Peasant Wedding, 1567 http://media.web.britannica.com/eb-media/39/95639-050-91921503.jpg http://resources42.kb.nl/MIMI/mimi_76F13/MIMI_76F13_003V_MIN.JPG The Feudal Society of Medieval England http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YipHRZk0Ids/T7uo6RLssLI/AAAAAAAAA5o/SfTK8HeiryY/s1600/MedievalTaxesToLord-1488-LR.jpg
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