The chroniclers who witnessed the revolt were either rich people or monks, so they had a bias and did not sympathise with the rebels. Both groups did not want to increase the cost of peasants by paying them more money. Both the Church and the lords relied on peasants to farm for them: the biggest source of wealth in the middle ages. They portrayed them as a vicious mob – 'the maddest of mad dogs' – and Wat Tyler as an arrogant and rude man.
The Whig historians portrayed the revolt as the start of the English people's fight for freedom – as the beginning of the end of the feudal system. Similarly, socialist historians have always seen the rebels as the first working-class heroes, fighting for ordinary people.
Gradually, however, historians began to question these ideas. They said the feudal system was coming to an end anyway because the Black Death had made labour so expensive. In 1970, the historian R B Dobson described the revolt as 'unnecessary' and its effect as 'negligible'.
Since 1981, historians have had new thoughts about the rebels:
What is your interpretation of the Peasants' Revolt?
You may also wish to compare the Peasants' Revolt to the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 - 1537 covered in Protest through time. Although the two events were similar in some ways, the Pilgrimage of Grace was basically inspired by religion. By contrast, the Peasants' Revolt was a political rebellion.