It took place in the year of thirteen eighty one,
But the origin of it had been many years before,
It had started when the “Black Death” plague swept the land,
And festered due to the landowners treatment of the poor.
The plague decimated the manpower available to work on the land,
As a consequence the serfs were able to claim better pay,
The landowners did not relish this at all,
They used Parliament in order to rule the day.
In thirteen fifty one a new law was passed,
To ensure that labourers’ wages would not increase,
This caused widespread anger amongst the working class,
Especially when they heard their freedom to move would cease.
.Some of them had moved to find better jobs,
Now they were forced to stay and work where they were,
The landlords had demanded their Manorial Rights,
The conditions the Peasants faced were quite austere.
In thirteen eighty a Poll Tax was imposed,
Which incensed the labourers who faced further poverty,
Peasants from Essex and Kent marched to London to protest,
And demanded that they should all be set free.
They were met at Mile End by the young King Richard,
Who readily listened to their demands for freedom,
He managed to persuade them to disperse,
When he promised fair rents and abolition of serfdom.
In thirteen eighty three some of the rebels led by Wat Tyler and John Ball,
Went to London and captured the famous Tower,
They beheaded the Treasurer and the Lord Chancellor,
Who had imposed the Poll Tax and who in other things exercised much power.
Then they met the King at Smithfield to demand,
That the Church should be divested of all of its property,
Wat Tyler exchanged blows with the Mayor and was arrested,
He was quickly found guilty and forced to pay the penalty.
For leading the revolt he was beheaded,
The Government were annoyed they had been provoked,
The rebels dispersed and the revolt was quickly over,
And all the promises made by the King at Mile End were revoked.
The peasants were still bound to spend their lives in serfdom,
What the revolt sought to achieve finally came to naught,
The name of Wat Tyler still lives on in legend,
And we still remember the aims for which he fought.