The Great Rising
This episode covers the catastrophic 14th century, including the Black Death and the Peasants Revolt. Delving into local records Michael Wood tracks the plague across Britain from Little Cornard in Suffolk to Abergavenny in the Welsh borders, and from St Andrews in Scotland to Dublin.
With over half the population dead, British work patterns change in the aftermath. Michael discovers women's roles in the workforce as brewsters and shopkeepers and finds a new class of cloth workers in our Test Dig at Long Melford. The fight for workers rights in the Peasants Revolt is defeated but in the next century peasants rise to become middle class, illustrated by the oldest primary school in Britain. Also, unique letters from a Norfolk village give us medieval womens' takes on love, marriage, and men. Finally in 15th century Lavenham, Michael crawls down a Tudor sewer for some really hands-on history at the beginning of our modern world.