John Ball (priest)

John Ball

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Succeeded by



John Ball (d. 15 July 1381) was an English Lollard priest who took a prominent part in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.

Biography

Little is known of Ball's early years; he probably lived at York and subsequently at Colchester. What is recorded of his adult life comes from hostile sources liable to exaggerate his political and religious radicalism. He is said to have gained considerable fame as a roving preacher — a "hedge priest" without a parish or any cure linking him to the established order — by expounding the doctrines of John Wycliffe, and especially by his insistence on social equality. These utterances brought him into conflict with the archbishop of Canterbury, and he was thrown in prison on three occasions. He also appears to have been excommunicated; owing to which, in 1366 it was forbidden to hear him preach.

These measures, however, did not moderate his opinions, nor diminish his popularity; his words had a considerable effect in fomenting a riot which broke out in June 1381. The chroniclers were convinced of widespread conspiracy implanted before the spontaneous uprising occurred, with the watchword "John the Miller grinds small, small, small" and the response "The King's son of heaven shall pay for all." Ball was in the archbishop's prison at Maidstone, Kent when the uprising began with protests in Dartford; he was quickly released by the Kentish rebels. He preached to them at Blackheath—the insurgents' gathering place near Greenwich— in an open-air sermon that included the following:

When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?[1] From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may ( if ye will ) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.[2] Some sources unsympathetic to Ball assert that he urged his audience to kill the principal lords of the kingdom and the lawyers, and that he was afterwards among those who rushed into the Tower of London to seize Simon of Sudbury, archbishop of Canterbury. But Ball does not appear in most accounts after his speech at Blackheath; he may have sensed that events were spinning into uncontrolled violence. When the rebels had dispersed, Ball was taken prisoner at Coventry, given a trial in which, unlike most, he was permitted to speak, and hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of Richard II on July 15 1381. Ball, who was called by Froissart "the mad priest of Kent," seems to have possessed the gift of rhyme. He voiced the feelings of a section of the discontented lower orders of society at that time, who chafed at villeinage and the lords' rights of unpaid labour, or ''corvée.

Ball and perhaps many of the rebels who followed him found some resonance between their ideas and goals and those of Piers Plowman, a key figure in a contemporary poem putatively by one William Langland. Ball put Piers and other characters from Langland's poem into his cryptically allegorical writings which may be prophecies, motivating messages, and/or coded instructions to his cohorts. This may have enhanced Langland's real or perceived radical and Lollard affinities as well as Ball's.

Influenced

  • Possibly William Langland and the C-text version of his poem, Piers Plowman, which certainly influenced Ball.
  • Gerrard Winstanley (1609 - 1676) a religious reformer and political activist during the 1650s who was aligned with the True Levellers, called the "Diggers").
  • William Morris (1834-1896) who wrote A Dream of John Ball (1888), a poetical socialist fantasy that puts nineteenth-century enlightened ideals of social equality into John Ball's mouth[3]:
:"What else shall ye lack when ye lack masters? Ye shall not lack for the fields ye have tilled, nor the houses ye have built, nor the cloth ye have woven; all these shall be yours, and whatso ye will of all that the earth beareth; then shall no man mow the deep grass for another... and he that soweth shall reap, and the reaper shall eat in fellowship the harvest that in fellowship he hath won."
  • Avi "Crispin: The Cross of Lead"; Pub: Hyperion; Reprint edition (2004), ISBN 0-7868-1658-9. A children's historical novel (ages 9-12), which includes a character called John Ball based on the historical person.
  • H. G. Wells, who dedicated his book '42 to '44 to Ball.

References

Further reading

These sources are taken from the Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition:
  • Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana, edited by H. T. Riley (London, 1863-1864);
  • Henry Knighton, the Chronicon, edited by Joseph Rawson Lumby (London, 1889-1895);
  • Jean Froissart, Chroniques, edited by S. Luce and G. Raynaud (Paris, 1869-1897);
  • More modern version published by Penguin Classics, 1978 ISBN 0-14-044200-6
  • Charles Edmund Maurice, Lives of English Popular Leaders in the Middle Ages (London, 1875);
  • Charles Oman, The Great Revolt of 1381 (Oxford, 1906).
  • Republished Oxford University Press, 1969.

Footnotes

1. ^ "When Adam delved and Eve span,/Who was then the gentleman" Sources
July 15 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events


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1381 in other calendars
Gregorian calendar 1381
MCCCLXXXI
Ab urbe condita 2134
Armenian calendar 830
ԹՎ ՊԼ
Bah' calendar -463 – -462
Buddhist calendar 1925
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English (from Old English Ænglisc) are a nation and ethnic group native to England and speak English. The largest single population of English people reside in England — the largest constituent country of the United Kingdom.
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Lollardy was the political and religious movement of the Lollards from the mid-14th century to the English Reformation. Lollardy was supposed to have evolved from the teachings of John Wycliffe, a prominent theologian at the University of Oxford beginning in the 1350s - however, it
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Peasants' Revolt, Tyler’s Rebellion, or the Great Rising of 1381 was one of a number of popular revolts in late medieval Europe and is a major event in the history of England.
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City of York
The Guildhall, York

Arms of City of York Council
York shown within England
Coordinates:
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
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Colchester

Colchester ()
|240px|Colchester (

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The Archbishop of Canterbury is the main leader of the Church of England and by convention is also recognised as head of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The current archbishop is Rowan Williams.
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Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive or suspend membership in a religious community. The word literally means out of communion, or no longer in communion. In some churches, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group.
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1366 in other calendars
Gregorian calendar 1366
MCCCLXVI
Ab urbe condita 2119
Armenian calendar 815
ԹՎ ՊԺԵ
Bah' calendar -478 – -477
Buddhist calendar 1910
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1381 in other calendars
Gregorian calendar 1381
MCCCLXXXI
Ab urbe condita 2134
Armenian calendar 830
ԹՎ ՊԼ
Bah' calendar -463 – -462
Buddhist calendar 1925
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prevew not available
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Dartford

Dartford ()
|240px|Dartford (

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Blackheath


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Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם‎, Adam, "man"; Arabic: آدم
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The term gentleman (from Latin gentilis, belonging to a race or "gens", and "man", cognate with the French word gentilhomme and the Italian gentil uomo or gentiluomo
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State Party United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iv
Reference 488
Region Europe and North America

Inscription History
Inscription
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Simon Theobald a.k.a "Simon of Sudbury" (d. June 14, 1381) was an Archbishop of Canterbury (1375 - 1381) as well as Bishop of London.

Life

He was born at Sudbury in Suffolk, studied at the University of Paris, and became one of the chaplains of Pope Innocent VI, who sent
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Coventry is a metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. With a population of 303,475 at the 2001 Census (306,000 est. 2007), Coventry is the ninth largest city in England and the eleventh largest in the United Kingdom.
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To be hanged, drawn and quartered was the penalty once ordained in England for treason. It is considered by many to be the epitome of cruel punishment,[1] and was reserved for treason as this crime was deemed more heinous than murder and other capital offences.
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Richard II
By the Grace of God, King of England
and France and Lord of Ireland


Reign 22 June 1377 - 29 September 1399
Coronation 16 July 1377
Born 6 January 1367(1367--)
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July 15 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events


..... Click the link for more information.
1381 in other calendars
Gregorian calendar 1381
MCCCLXXXI
Ab urbe condita 2134
Armenian calendar 830
ԹՎ ՊԼ
Bah' calendar -463 – -462
Buddhist calendar 1925
..... Click the link for more information.
Jean Froissart (c. 1337 – c. 1405) was one of the most important of the chroniclers of medieval France. For centuries, Froissart's Chronicles have been recognized as the chief expression of the chivalric revival of the 14th century Kingdom of England and France.
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Corvée is unpaid labour that persons in power compel their subjects to perform. It differs from slavery in that the worker is not owned outright -- being free in various respects other than in the dispensation of his or her labour -- and the work is usually intermittent; typically
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Piers Plowman (w. ca. 1360–1399) or Visio Willelmi de Petro Ploughman (William's Vision of Piers Plowman) is the title of a Middle English allegorical narrative poem by William Langland.
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William Langland is the conjectured author of the 14th-century English dream-vision Piers Plowman. The attribution of Piers to Langland rests principally on the evidence of a manuscript held at Trinity College, Dublin (MS 212).
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Lollardy was the political and religious movement of the Lollards from the mid-14th century to the English Reformation. Lollardy was supposed to have evolved from the teachings of John Wycliffe, a prominent theologian at the University of Oxford beginning in the 1350s - however, it
..... Click the link for more information.
William Langland is the conjectured author of the 14th-century English dream-vision Piers Plowman. The attribution of Piers to Langland rests principally on the evidence of a manuscript held at Trinity College, Dublin (MS 212).
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