Friday 14th June 1381
Today the peasant leader Wat Tyler and his followers met King Richard at Smithfield in London. At the end of the day Tyler lay dead and the revolt was over.
The peasants from all over London gathered together to march to fight with the king. There were 20,000 peasants against the King and his army.
The King had met the peasants before on the river Mersey. They were not angry with the king, but the way he had put the taxes up. They had come to discuss the matter not fight.
They marched to London and were let in the city gates by the peasants inside who did not like the King. Once inside they caused havoc by burning and smashing the houses of the rich, and killing the Archbishop of Canterbury. This proved that they were serious. Then they met at Smithfield. That's when the peasant leader Wat Tyler rode out in front and from the kings side the Mayor of London came forward. Then something unplanned for happened. The Lord Mayor of London stabbed Wat Tyler. Some say that it was because he did not take his hat off to the king. Others say that he spat at the king. Some say he spat a tampered drink out, or maybe he said something to the king under his breath. After Wat Tyler lay dead the peasants did not know what to do. The king then rode up to the peasants and said " let me be your leader and go home and you will be safe." The peasants did this but soon found out that it was a lie. Within the next hour the king had sent soldiers round to gather up any one who had come to London. They were to be hanged. He said "once villains always villains."
King Richard's interview
Did you plan to kill Wat Tyler with the Lord Mayor of London?
Errm, err, No! I didn't. Of course not, that's absurd.
Why did you lie to the peasants?
Because they deserve to die as they were not loyal to me and if they were disloyal
once, they could be disloyal to me again.
Why did you raise the taxes?
Because I was only getting half of my money as half of the poor things died from the Black Death but that's the way it goes I suppose. Anyway I am not bothered as long as I get my money.
Would you try and kill some one else who you thought was a danger to you?
Do you think Wat Tyler should have died because he spat at the King?
One thing, he didn't spit at the King. Second thing, he spat a tampered with drink out and no he shouldn't have died the way he did. (He begins to cry).
Was Wat Tyler ready to fight if it occurred?
Yes, we all were ready especially him because he was so angry.
Why was he angry?
He was doing really well until King Richard put the taxes up. He had lot's of groats to spend and lot's going for him, but he had to give it all up.
Do you think King Richard should still be king?
No! He should not be king and the Lord Mayor should not be Lord Mayor of London.
If I had to be on the side of the king or the peasants I would be on the peasants side. Because I have more sympathy for the peasants as I know how they feel. Plus how it must have felt to see Wat Tyler die in front of them. The revolt started with unfair taxes, which was caused by the Black Death. The king was only getting half of the money because half of the population of England had died because of the Black Death.
Wat Tyler and the king met but only one of them left alive.
By Sarah Evans