Peasants Revolt of 1381: Riot,
Theft, Jailbreaks, etc.
Extracts from the inquisitions held before Thomas Holland, earl of Kent, at
Canterbury on 8 July I38I, as printed in R.B. Robson, The Peasants' Revolt of
1381 (London: Macmillan, 1970), 145-7.
"On Monday, on the morrow of the Translation of St Thomas the Martyr [8 July
1381] at Canterbury, before Thomas Holland, earl of Kent and his associates . . .
in the foresaid county, by the oath of [twelve named jurors] who say upon their
oath that Henr y Whyte, tayllor, of Westgate, Henry Foghel of Lyde in Romney
Marsh, John Reade of Thanet and William Munde, weaver, came with force and
arms, with others unknown, to the house of William Medmenham in Canterbury,
viz. on Monday on the morrow of Trinity [1 0 June 1381] and feloniously broke
into the said house, and the goods and chattels of the said William Medmenham,
to the value of ten pounds, feloniously trampled upon and carried away.
Also they say that on Monday on the morrow of the Holy Trinity aforesaid [10
June 1381], the foresaid Henry Whyte and Nicholas Cherchegate and John
Barbour of Newenton, with others unknown, came to the house of Thomas Holte
in Westgate next Canterbury, and feloniously broke into the said house, and
feloniously took and carried away the goods and chattels of the said Thomas, to
the value of forty pounds.
Also they say that on the Monday aforesaid, Richard Baker of Lenham, together
with others, came with force and arms to the house of Thomas Oteryngton . .
.there took the said Thomas feloniously and carried him out, and threatened him
with loss of life, and so compelled him to the said....
William Sporier of Canterbury, with many others unknown, came to the house of
the said Thomas Oteryngton and there feloniously broke open his doors and upon
him did make an assault . . . the said Thomas despaired of his life.
Also they say that on the Monday aforesaid, John London of Otehell near
Canterbury and Henry Whyte of Canterbury feloniously killed John Tebbe at
Canterbury, and that William Cymekyn feloniously procured and abetted the death
of the said John Tebbe.
Also they say that on the same day, Thomas Olever, John Lukke, carpenter, and
John Hunte of Canterbury came to the house of the said John Tebbe and
feloniously broke into the said house, and took and feloniously carried away his
goods and chattels, to the value of twenty pounds.
Also they say that on Tuesday next after the feast of Holy Trinity [11 June 1381],
Henry Twysdenn, John Twysdenn [and others] of Canterbury went to the gaol of
Maidstone and feloniously broke into the same, and took out and feloniously set at
liberty a ll the prisoners there imprisoned....
Also they say that John Sales [recte, Hales] of Malling on the Monday aforesaid
came to Canterbury with a great multitude of the enemies of our lord the king, by
him raised and assembled, and feloniously broke open the houses of Thomas
Holte, Wi lliam de Medmenham, John Tebbe, the castle of Canterbury, the town
hall (praetorium) of Canterbury. . . Sir Richard de Hoo, knight, Thomas de
Garwenton and Sir Thomas Fog, knight, and stole and carried away goods,
chattels and muniments, to the val ue of a thousand pounds, and feloniously set
free the prisoners that were in the said castle and town hall; and they say that he
was the first and principal originator of the insurrection and levying of all the
enemies of our Lord the King.
Also, they say that John Cook, sawyer (sappier), of Canterbury, on the day that
the said John Tece was slain, dragged the said John from his horse down to the
ground, and was then the abettor of his death.
Also, they say that John Besynghi, of Canterbury, was . . . of Thomas Holbeein,
together with others unknown, on the day of the foresaid death, feloniously broke
open the houses, chambers, and chests, and burnt the books and other muniments,
touching o ur Lord the King's crown, and other muniments. . . burnt.
Also, they say that, on Thursday, on the feast of Corpus Christi [13 June 1381],
Stephen Samuel, John Wenelok, John Daniels, Thomas Soles, John Tayllor,
Sacristan of the Church of St John in Thanet, and John Bocher, Clerk of the said
church of Thanet, by commission of John Rakestraw and Watte Tegheler, made
proclamation in the foresaid church, and compelled a levy of the country there, to
the number of two hundred men, and made them go to the house of William de
Medmenham, and they feloniously broke op en the gates, doors, chambers, and
chests of the said William, and carried away his goods and chattels to the value of
twenty marks, and took and feloniously burnt the rolls touching the Crown of our
Lord the King, and the rolls of the office of Receiver of Green Wax for the county
Also, they say that, on Monday next after the feast of Peter and
Paul, in the fifth
year of the King's reign [I July I38I], John Gybonn, of Maidstone, came to the
town hall (praetorium), before the bailiffs of the city of Canterbury, and require d
the said bailiffs to make levy of the whole community of the said city, to resist the
lords and justices assigned to keep the peace of our Lord the King in the county
of Kent. "
For more documents relating to this series of disorders in the Summer of 1381, click