By his own account, he began preaching in York, then Colchester (where Wat Tyler came from), then spent 20 years tramping round Kent, spreading his unorthodox gospel, being imprisoned twice for it. In 1351, Parliament passed a statute controlling wages which caused unrest in the peasantry. Outside the British Isles, England is often erroneously considered synonymous with the island of Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) and even with the entire United…. Fired up by the millennarian weltanschauung of Joachim of Fiore, the persecuted Spirituals argued they were the true inheritors of Christ and the church that ejected them were imposters of Anti-Christ. What were John Ball’s ‘ravings’ [10] so furiously denounced by Walsingham, which led to Ball’s persecution in life and ultimately violent death? I think Tyler instead demanded a return to pre-Norman law, once seated at Winchester. Norman Cohn argues strongly that Ball’s reference to the ‘tares’ was millennarian in content. John Ball, (died July 15, 1381, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, Eng. In Canterbury they barged into the cathedral during a service, threatening to have Archbishop Sudbury, who they deemed ‘traitor’ for misadvising Richard II on the French War. and suggests this mentality suffused the revolting peasantry rather than being idiosyncratic to Ball himself. By allowing advocates of Christian poverty within the church, he made possible counter-attacks against the heretics like the Cathars outside it living lives of poverty and attacking the church for its worldliness. In looking to the origins of his society — albeit mythical ones — in order to explain and challenge the present, John Ball was a primitivist. [22] Hilton, op cit, makes this point eloquently, pp 222–223. Then they turned their attentions to the Savoy, Palace of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and military leader during the war in France. [23] I’m thinking here of Fra Dolcino and his followers at Monte Rebello, 1307, extreme even by Spiritual Franciscan standards, and strictly speaking not of that order. In 1382 a small group of Rochester men were indicted for sneaking the Duke’s strong-box over the Thames to Southwark, making themselves £1,000 the richer. Until this time, the government was primarily in the hands of his mother Isabella and Roger de Mortimer; however, in 1330 Edward took control of the government forcing his mother to retire and killing Mortimer. That the insurgents argued for restructuring their whole society rather than just suggesting new counsellors replace the ‘traitors’ shows how far from cap-doffing petitioners they were. Attempting to solidify the English areas only led to trouble and in 1337 a series of wars (called the Hundred Years Wars from 1337-1453) began, which existed throughout Edwards' reign and after. Similarly, there would be a people’s church whose basic unit would be the parish, again with no intermediate hierarchy between Christians and the single bishop or archbishop who, as head of the church was the ecclesiastical equivalent of the people’s king. [14] Rodney Hilton, ‘Bond Men Made Free’, Routledge, London 1988, p 223. The best known examples of this tradition are the Ranters of the English Civil War period. [7]. When a third poll tax in five years was levied to fund the failing war in France, the peasants of the hundred of Barnstaple, Essex, were first to rise up on 29th May 1381. At this time, the king granted mercy, but he later revoked the charters he’d granted two days earlier and ordered the rebels hunted down. What with the Church’s heavy embroilment in secular affairs — to the point of its leader in England approving the poll tax, and the Papacy divided between Rome and Avignon and at war with itself due to the Great Schism, it is no surprise such criticisms were voiced in England decades before Wycliffe.