Timeline of the Peasants' Revolt

7 June - Kentish rebels ask Wat Tyler to be their leader, 13 June - Gates of London opened to the rebels, 14 June - Richard met rebels at Mile End, 15 June - Richard meets Wat Tyler at Smithfield.

  1. The rebels marched in London. The leader of the men of Essex was called Jack Straw.
  2. On 7 June 1381, the Kentish rebels asked an ex-soldier named Wat Tyler to be their leader.
  3. The priest John Ball had been imprisoned by the Archbishop of Canterbury for heresy. The rebels freed him and he preached to them, saying that God intended people to be equal.
  4. The rebels were joined by others – eg the poor people of London. They were led by people who would have been important in their villages – reeves, priests and even local landowners. They sent letters round the countryside calling for people to join them.
  5. On 13 June, someone opened the gates of London to the rebels.
  6. The rebels entered the city and attacked the houses of Richard's advisers, including John of Gaunt (Richard's uncle) and Simon Sudbury (the Archbishop of Canterbury).
  7. On 14 June, Richard (who was only 14 years old) bravely went to Mile End and met a group of rebels led by Richard Wallingford. They demanded that he dismiss some of his advisers and abolish serfdom. Richard agreed. Some of the rebels went home. While this was happening, a group of rebels broke into the Tower of London and beheaded Simon Sudbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is said that he endured eight strokes of the axe.
  8. On 15 June, Richard went to Smithfield to meet Wat Tyler, who had refused to accept the deal with Wallingford. Tyler demanded that the law should be less harsh, the Church's wealth be given to the poor, there should be no lords and all men should be free and equal.
  9. William Walworth, the Lord Mayor of London, attacked Tyler.
  10. As he died, Tyler ordered his army to attack, but Richard stepped forward and said: I will be your king and leader. He promised to abolish serfdom. The peasants trusted him and went home.