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Archive for 09/09/2016

Historical Novel Society: Oxford 2016 Part Three

The first Keynote Address of the Weekend was from writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg. He discussed his new novel, Now is the Time that is set during the Peasant Uprising of 1381. The uprising did not just include peasants, though, but many other members of the lower orders including artisans and apprentices. It was also not a rebellion against the King (Richard II) but against what was viewed as the corruption of the Lords and Church as the King was viewed as God’s representative on Earth.

The 1380s were a time of great change in England. The country was still recovering from the effects of the Black Death which cut the population in half and completely wiping out many towns and villages. The English population before the plague was five million and it did not reach this again until the 1650s. There was also a re-emergance of the English language after three hundred years of the upper echeons of the country speaking Norman French and Latin.

The rebels reached London, crossed the heavily fortified London Bridge and got into the White Tower which at that time was the best defended castle in the country.

What happened next? I suggest you read the book. I certainly look forward to reading it.