Moment in history
The Peasants’ Revolt was a major rebellion which spread throughout medieval England. Discontent had grown among the country’s peasants following the introduction of tough wage controls. The fortunes of wealthy landowners soared, the behaviour of nobles, who ruled on behalf of King Richard, and the position of the church also enraged commoners.
In the summer of 1381, thousands of peasants led by local man John Litester, marched on Norwich, taking control of the city. They were eventually forced to retreat to the countryside just outside of North Walsham by the King’s army and the forces of the Bishop of Norwich, Bishop Henry Despenser. It is believed that there they were confronted by Bishop Despenser’s soldiers, and thousands of peasants were killed in the ensuing Great Battle of North Walsham. Many fled to the town’s church and barricaded themselves in, but were unable to escape the army and were also slain.