Tower of London
The Tower of London Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill, it was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite; the castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although, not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence; as a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion under Kings Richard I, Henry III, Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries; the general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite activity on the site.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, controlling it has been important to controlling the country; the Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle; this was a trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery; the peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, Elizabeth Throckmorton, were held within its walls.
This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired, the castle reopened to the public. Today, the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.
Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, operated by the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House, the property is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site. The Tower was orientated with its strongest and most impressive defences overlooking Saxon London, which archaeologist Alan Vince suggests was deliberate, it stood out to traffic on the River Thames. The castle enclosures; the innermost ward is the earliest phase of the castle. Encircling it to the north and west is the inner ward, built during the reign of Richard I. There is the outer ward which encompasses the castle and was built under Edward I. Although there were several phases of expansion after William the Conqueror founded the Tower of London, the general layout has remained the same since Edward I completed his rebuild in 1285; the castle encloses an area of 12 acres with a further 6 acres around the Tower of London constituting the Tower Liberties – land under the direct influence of the castle and cleared for military reasons.
The precursor of the Liberties was laid out in the 13th century when Henry III ordered that a strip of land adjacent to the castle be kept clear. Despite popular fiction, the Tower of London never had a permanent torture chamber, although the basement of the White Tower housed a rack in periods. Tower Wharf was built on the bank of the Thames under Edward I and was expanded to its current size during the reign of Richard II; the White Tower is a keep, the strongest structure in a medieval castle, contained lodgings suitable for the lord – in this case, the king or his representative. According to military historian Allen Brown, "The great tower was by virtue of its strength and lordly accommodation, the donjon par excellence"; as one of the largest keeps in the Christian world, the White Tower has been described as "the most complete eleventh-century palace in Europe". The White Tower, not including its projecting corner towers, measures 36 by 32 metres at the base, is 27 m high at the southern battlements.
The structure was three storeys high, comprising a basement floor, an entrance level, an upper floor. The entrance, as is usual in Norman keeps, was above ground
Ivry-la-Bataille is a commune in the Eure Department in the Normandy region in northern France. Ivry-la-Bataille was known as Ivry; the Battle of Ivry took place near Ivry on 14 March 1590. It was renamed Ivry-la-Bataille to commemorate the battle and to distinguish the town from Ivry-sur-Seine. Ivry-la-Bataille is located on the Eure River in Normandy and about thirty miles west of Paris, at the boundary between the Île-de-France and the Beauce regions. Château d'Ivry-la-Bataille Communes of the Eure department INSEE Official Web site
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
St Katharine's by the Tower
St Katharine's by the Tower—full name Royal Hospital and Collegiate Church of St. Katharine by the Tower—was a medieval church and hospital next to the Tower of London; the establishment was founded in 1147 and the buildings demolished in 1825 to build St Katharine Docks, which takes its name from it. It was re-established elsewhere in London and 123 years returned once more to the East End; the church was a Royal Peculiar and the precinct around it was an extra-parochial area becoming a civil parish, dissolved in 1895. The Royal Peculiar survives to the present day as the Royal Foundation of St Katharine, it was founded by Queen Matilda, wife of King Stephen, in 1147 in memory of two of her children and Matilda, who had died in infancy and been buried in the Priory Church of Holy Trinity at Aldgate. Its endowment was increased by two queens consort, Eleanor of Castile and Philippa of Hainault, it was made up of three brethren, three sisters, a bedeswoman and six "poor clerks", all under a Master.
It was a religious community and medieval hospital for poor infirm people next to the Tower of London. In 1273, after a dispute over its control, Queen Eleanor granted a new Charter, reserving the Foundation’s patronage to the Queens of England. For 678 years, the Foundation carried on its work in East London despite periodic difficulties and renewal. In the 15th century its musical reputation rivalled that of St Paul's and in 1442 it was granted a Charter of Privileges, which made it and its 23-acre precinct a Liberty with its own prison and court, all outside the City of London's ecclesiastical and civil jurisdiction, its liberty status and the fact it was owned and protected by the Queen Mother, meant that it was not dissolved but re-established in a Protestant form. There were by now 1,000 houses in its precinct, inhabited by foreigners and prostitutes, crammed along narrow lanes and many in poor repair--John Stow's 1598 "Survey of London" called them "small tenements and homely cottages, having as inhabitants and strangers, more in number than some city in England".
Since the City's guilds' restrictions did not apply here, foreign craftsmen were attracted to the Liberty, as were many seamen and rivermen. It continued to exist through the religious changes of the time: reversion to Catholicism under Mary, return to Anglicanism under Elizabeth I and the Puritan Revolution; the status of St Katharine's appears to be ambiguous with the court leet behaving more like a select vestry. The area was incorporated into the weekly Bills of mortality returns, not typical for extra-parochial places in London. Despite the high population density, however, in the Great Plague the Liberty's mortality rate was half of the rate in areas to the north and east of the City of London, its continuing establishment of lay brothers and sisters, drew hostile attention from extreme Protestants—for example, it was only saved from being burned down by the mob in the 1780 Gordon Riots by a small group of pro-government inhabitants. It grew to be a village on the banks of the River Thames outside the east walls of the Tower, offering sanctuary to immigrants and to the poor.
In 1825, commercial pressure for larger docks up-river caused St Katharine’s, with its 14th & 15th century buildings and some 3,000 inhabitants, to be demolished. This was to provide a dock close to the heart of the City; the smallest of London's docks, some opposed the demolition of such an ancient establishment but in large part it was praised for demolishing "some of the most insanitary and unsalutary dwellings in London". This was without compensation and at a time when deteriorating Dickensian poverty in East London much needed St Katharine’s. St Katharine's by the Tower was grouped into the Whitechapel District in 1855 and became a civil parish in 1866 when its extra-parochial status ended, following the Poor Law Amendment Act 1866; the parish became part of the County of London in 1889. In 1895 it was combined with St Botolph without Aldgate; the institution, now called the Royal Foundation of St Katharine, moved to Regent's Park, where it took the form of almshouses, continued for 125 years.
In 1948, St Katharine’s returned to East London to its present location in Limehouse, a mile from its original site, became a retreat house with Father John Groser as Master and Members of the Community of the Resurrection from Mirfield providing worship and service in the locality. The Foundation remained under the care of this Community for some 45 years until 1993. In 2004, St Katharine’s modernised and expanded its facilities to include a retreat and conference centre, so making available its hospitality more within the Church of England and to other churches, charities and public sector bodies and to associated individuals; the former chapel of St Katharine at Regent's Park is now the Danish seaman's church. Anne Stafford, Countess of March, The establishment forms the setting for Sir Walter Besant's novel St. Katherine's by the Tower, set in the years following the French Revolution, he deplored its demolition in his non-fiction book East London. The population of St Katharine's by the Tower at the decennial census was: Official website of Foundation Royall Family & East London History
Constable of the Tower
The Constable of the Tower is the most senior appointment at the Tower of London. In the Middle Ages a constable was the person in charge of a castle when the owner—the king or a nobleman—was not in residence; the Constable of the Tower had a unique importance as the person in charge of the principal fortress defending the capital city of England. Today the role of Constable is a ceremonial one and involves taking part in traditional ceremonies within the Tower as well as being part of the community that lives within its perimeter; the Constable is a trustee of Historic Royal Palaces and of the Royal Armouries. Under the Queen's Regulations for the Army, the office of Constable is conferred upon a field marshal or a retired general officer for a five-year term; the Constable appointed in 2016 is General Sir Nick Houghton. The Constable's ceremonial deputy is the Lieutenant of the Tower of London Simon Mayall. At the conclusion of the Constable's Installation ceremony, the Lord Chamberlain symbolically hands over the Queen’s House to the Constable.
He in turn entrusts it to the Resident Governor, responsible for the day-to-day running of Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London. The office of Constable of the Tower is one of the oldest in England, dating back to within a few years of the Conquest, has always been one of great honour and dignity. In the past, this appointment has been held by eminent prelates of the Church, prominent politicians and distinguished soldiers; the first Constable, Geoffrey de Mandeville was appointed by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. In the absence of the Sovereign, the Constable would have been among the most powerful men in London. Today the Constable retains the right of direct access to the Sovereign. Since 1784 the Constable has always been a senior military officer. During the medieval period the Constable ran the Tower which included building maintenance, soldiers' pay and, as the Royal menagerie was housed in the Tower, supervision of the'Keeper of the King’s Animals', he was ultimately responsible for the prisoners kept there.
The first known prisoner was the Norman bishop Ranulf Flambard in 1100, the London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray were the last official prisoners, for a few days in 1952, for refusing to do their National Service. They were sent to the Tower as it was the barracks of the 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers to which they had been assigned; the Constable’s responsibility for prisoners was made clear in the words with which he was entrusted with them: “You are to guard them securely in the prison of our said tower in such a way that you shall answer for them body for body... Fail in no part of this on pain of forfeiture of life and limb and all property you hold in our realms.” Until the expulsion of the Jews in 1290, the Constable was responsible for the regulation and protection of London's Jewry. Until 1899, the Constable held the office of Lord Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets; the Tower Hamlets was an area of SE Middlesex that urbanised as inner East London and included the area of the eponymous modern borough and most of what is now the London Borough of Hackney.
This was an unusual arrangement as Lord Lieutenancy powers were exercised at county level. In the Middle Ages it was a profitable position; every ship that came upstream to London had to moor at Tower Wharf to give a portion of its cargo to the Constable, as payment for the protection afforded by the Tower's cannon. These dues included oysters, cockles and wine; the tradition is still maintained today by the Royal Navy, at the annual Ceremony of the Constable's Dues, when one large vessel presents the Constable with a barrel of rum. Since 1784 the tradition has been for the Constable to be a senior military officer a general officer; the most famous Constable was Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, who served from 1825 to 1852. During his tenure, the royal menagerie and record office were removed and many buildings were restored to their medieval state; the moat was converted into a parade ground. Yeomen Warders were no longer permitted to buy and sell their places but were to be drawn only from sergeants in the Army.
To His Grace's displeasure, tourism at the Tower increased during his Constableship. Each Constable is now appointed for five years; the new Constable is handed the keys as a symbol of office. On state occasions the Constable has custody of other royal jewels; this is an incomplete list of people who have served as Constable of the Tower of London, a post traditionally combined with that of Lord Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets. Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages thepeerage.com — Darryl Lundy W. L. Rutton and Queries, pp.62–63 pp.161–163 pp.243–246 "Constables and Lieutenants of the Tower of London", 10 S. IX, Channel 4.
Battle of Baugé
The Battle of Baugé, fought between the English and a Franco-Scots army on 22 March 1421 at Baugé, east of Angers, was a major defeat for the English in the Hundred Years' War. The English army was led by the king's brother Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence, while the Franco-Scots were led by both John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan, Gilbert de Lafayette, the Marshal of France. English strength was 4,000 men, although only 1,500 deployed, against Scots. Henry V, with the intention of resuming the war, sailed from England to France with a force of about 10,500, he pursued a successful military campaign, including the decisive victory at the Battle of Agincourt, regained from the French crown much of England's held lands in France. The Scots had been in an alliance with France since 1295. In 1419 the situation in France was desperate. Normandy was lost to the Paris to the Burgundians. France was in a state of an ongoing civil war between the Royalist faction and the supporters of the dukes of Burgundy.
In these deteriorating circumstances, the Dauphin appealed to the Scots for help. A Scottish army was assembled under the leadership of John, Earl of Buchan and Archibald, Earl of Wigtown and from late 1419 to 1421 the Scottish army became the mainstay of the Dauphin’s defence of the lower Loire valley; when Henry returned to England in 1421, he left his heir presumptive, Duke of Clarence, in charge of the remaining army. Following the King's instructions, Clarence led 4000 men in raids through the Maine; this chevauchée met with little resistance, by Good Friday, 21 March 1421, the English army had made camp near the little town of Vieil-Baugé. The Franco-Scots army of about 5000 arrived in the Vieil-Baugé area to block the English army's progress, it was commanded by the new Marshal of France, the Sieur de Lafayette. On Easter Saturday, one of these foraging groups captured a Scots man-at-arms, able to provide the Duke of Clarence with intelligence, on the 5000 strong Scottish army. Clarence was keen to engage the enemy.
A two-day delay was deemed as out of the question. According to the chronicles of Walter Bower both commanders agreed to a short truce for Easter. There are several accounts of the Battle of Baugé, it seems that Clarence did not realise how big the Franco-Scottish army was as he decided to rely on the element of surprise and attack immediately. He discounted the advice of his lieutenants, the Earl of Huntingdon and Gilbert Umfraville, to consolidate his own force and position. Clarence with only about 1500 men-at-arms available, no archers, charged the Franco-Scottish lines; the Scots rallied hastily, battle was joined at a bridge which Clarence attempted to cross. A hundred Scottish archers, under Sir Robert Stewart of Ralston, reinforced by the retinue of Hugh Kennedy, held the bridge and prevented passage long enough for the Earl of Buchan to rally the rest of his army; when Clarence forced his way across, he was confronted with the main body of the Franco-Scottish army. In the ensuing melée, John Carmichael of Douglasdale broke his lance unhorsing the Duke of Clarence.
There are several versions of how Clarence met his death, according to Bower, the Scottish knight Sir John Swinton wounded the prince in his face, but it was Alexander Buchanan, credited with killing the Duke with his mace and holding the dead Duke's coronet aloft on his lance in triumph. Another version stated that a Highland Scot, Alexander Macausland of Lennox, was responsible for Clarence's demise, whereas a French chronicler Georges Chastellain has the Duke killed by a Frenchman. On in the day in the evening, decisive action was taken by Salisbury, having succeeded in rounding up the English archers, used a contingency of them to rescue what was left of the English force and retrieve some of the bodies of the fallen, including that of Clarence. However, the Scots allowed the remains of the English army, led by Salisbury, to escape and so missed an opportunity to remove the English from France; the battle did secure the reputation of the Scottish army in France. No more were the Scots dismissed as "wine drinkers and mutton eaters" by their French allies.
On hearing of the Scottish victory, Pope Martin V passed comment by reiterating a common medieval saying, that "Verily, the Scots are well-known as an antidote to the English." The Dauphin was able to exploit the victory at Baugé, by announcing his intention to invade English-held Normandy. He made the count of Longueville and lord of Dun-le-roi. Sir John Stewart of Darnley received the lands of Concressault; the Earl of Buchan was made Constable of France. In 1422 the Dauphin created the "hundred men-at-arms of the King's bodyguard", known as the "Hundred Lances of France", to supplement the 24 archers of the Garde Ecossaise; the Hundred Lances became the company known as the Gendarmerie of France, who distinguished themselves at Fontenoy in 1745. John Carmichael was elected bishop of Orléans in 1426, was one of the 6 bishops to attend the coronation of the Dauphin
Richard II of England
Richard II known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard's father, Edward the Black Prince, died in 1376, leaving Richard as heir apparent to King Edward III. Upon the death of his grandfather Edward III, the 10-year-old Richard succeeded to the throne. During Richard's first years as king, government was in the hands of a series of regency councils, influenced by Richard's uncles John of Gaunt and Thomas of Woodstock. England faced various problems, most notably the Hundred Years' War. A major challenge of the reign was the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, the young king played a central part in the successful suppression of this crisis. Less warlike than either his father or grandfather, he sought to bring an end to the Hundred Years' War. A firm believer in the royal prerogative, Richard restrained the power of the aristocracy and relied on a private retinue for military protection instead. In contrast to his grandfather, Richard cultivated a refined atmosphere at court, in which the king was an elevated figure, with art and culture at its centre.
The king's dependence on a small number of courtiers caused discontent among the influential, in 1387 control of government was taken over by a group of aristocrats known as the Lords Appellant. By 1389 Richard had regained control, for the next eight years governed in relative harmony with his former opponents. In 1397, Richard took his revenge on the Appellants, many of whom were exiled; the next two years have been described by historians as Richard's "tyranny". In 1399, after John of Gaunt died, the king disinherited Gaunt's son, Henry of Bolingbroke, exiled. Henry invaded England in June 1399 with a small force that grew in numbers. Meeting little resistance, Bolingbroke deposed Richard and had himself crowned king. Richard is thought to have been starved to death in captivity, although questions remain regarding his final fate. Richard's posthumous reputation has been shaped to a large extent by William Shakespeare, whose play Richard II portrayed Richard's misrule and his deposition by Bolingbroke as responsible for the 15th-century Wars of the Roses.
Modern historians do not accept this interpretation, while not exonerating Richard from responsibility for his own deposition. While not insane, as historians of the 19th and 20th centuries believed, he may have had a personality disorder manifesting itself towards the end of his reign. Most authorities agree that his policies were not unrealistic or entirely unprecedented, but that the way in which he carried them out was unacceptable to the political establishment, leading to his downfall. Richard of Bordeaux was the younger son of Joan of Kent. Edward, eldest son of Edward III and heir apparent to the throne of England, had distinguished himself as a military commander in the early phases of the Hundred Years' War in the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. After further military adventures, however, he contracted dysentery in Spain in 1370, he never recovered and had to return to England the next year. Richard was born at the Archbishop's Palace, Bordeaux, in the English principality of Aquitaine, on 6 January 1367.
According to contemporary sources, three kings – "the King of Castille, the King of Navarre and the King of Portugal" – were present at his birth. This anecdote, the fact that his birth fell on the feast of Epiphany, was used in the religious imagery of the Wilton Diptych, where Richard is one of three kings paying homage to the Virgin and Child, his elder brother, Edward of Angoulême, died near his sixth birthday in 1371. The Black Prince succumbed to his long illness in June 1376; the Commons in parliament genuinely feared that Richard's uncle, John of Gaunt, would usurp the throne. For this reason, the prince was invested with the princedom of Wales and his father's other titles. On 21 June the next year, Richard's grandfather Edward III, for some years frail and decrepit died, after a 50-year-long reign; this resulted in the 10-year-old Richard succeeding to the throne. He was crowned king on 16 July 1377 at Westminster Abbey. Again, fears of John of Gaunt's ambitions influenced political decisions, a regency led by the King's uncles was avoided.
Instead, the king was nominally to exercise kingship with the help of a series of "continual councils", from which John of Gaunt was excluded. Gaunt, together with his younger brother Thomas of Woodstock, Earl of Buckingham, still held great informal influence over the business of government, but the king's councillors and friends Sir Simon de Burley and Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland gained control of royal affairs. In a matter of three years, these councillors earned the mistrust of the Commons to the point that the councils were discontinued in 1380. Contributing to discontent was an heavy burden of taxation levied through three poll taxes between 1377 and 1381 that were spent on unsuccessful military expeditions on the continent. By 1381, there was a deep-felt resentment against the governing classes in the lower levels of English society. Whereas the poll tax of 1381 was the spark of the Peasants' Revolt, the root of the conflict lay in tensions between peasants and landowners precipitated by the economic and demographic consequences of the Black Death and subsequent outbreaks of the plague.
The rebellion started in Kent and Essex in late May, on 12 June, bands of peasants gathered at Blackheath near London under the leaders Wat Tyler, John Ball, Jack Straw. John of Gaunt's Savoy Palace was burnt down; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Sudbury, Lord Chancellor, the king's Lord High Treasurer, Rober