Person    | Male  Born 1338  Died 15/7/1381

John Ball

Born St Albans. As a priest he followed the Lollard doctrine which advocated social equality and hence was imprisoned several times. This was where he was when the Peasants' Revolt began. The Kentish rebels freed him and he responded with a sermon on Blackheath which included 'When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?' meaning that as there were no lords at the beginning of time, why should there be any now? 

This, not surprisingly, led to his reimprisonment, trial and execution. He was hung, drawn and quartered at St Albans, in front of Richard II. His quarters were distributed across four towns for display and his head ended up on a spike on London Bridge. Other rebels suffered the same fate and at least one of them was sent, piecemeal, to Norwich, Harwich, Lynn and Yarmouth but we can't discover Ball's final destinations.

We've heard that in the modern meat trade the "fifth quarter" means the offal, whereas in medieval England it could have been used to mean the head. Nice.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
John Ball

Commemorated ati

The Great Rising / Peasants' Revolt

Matthew Bell realised that The Great Rising lacked a proper memorial and that...

Read More

Other Subjects

Peter Anning Revell-Smith, CBE, Deputy

Peter Anning Revell-Smith, CBE, Deputy

Commoner on the City Lands & Bridge House Estates Committee, 1994.

Person, Politics & Administration

1 memorial
Richard Clarence Halse, Deputy

Richard Clarence Halse, Deputy

Commoner on the Bridge House Estates Committee, 1894.

Person, Politics & Administration

1 memorial
Thomas Hoyland

Thomas Hoyland

In 1893 the Acting Superintendent of the old Snow Fields Ragged School.

Person, Education, Politics & Administration

1 memorial
Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor

Politician and radical. Born in London. he married Clementia Doughty in 1842, and they jointly supported many radical causes. In 1845 they met Giuseppi Mazzini the Italian patriot and became close ...

Person, Politics & Administration

1 memorial
C. E. Wilson

C. E. Wilson

Church Warden of St Alban, Wood Street in 1865.

Person, Politics & Administration

1 memorial