Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/432

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A HISTORY OF SURREY burnt the Court Rolls, 1 and the townsmen of Guildford complained in 1383 that their charters were lost in the disturbances of 1381. The county town was probably in the hands of the mob, who burnt the charters after their common practice. The privileges of the probi homines of the corporation were an object of indifference to the villeins, and no doubt of dislike to the unprivileged workmen in the town. We do not hear that they mastered the castle, where many of them expiated their offence later in the year. The main body of insurgents entered Southwark on June 1 2 and broke open the Marshalsea and King's Bench prisons, plundered the houses of obnoxious persons, and incited doubtless by the Lollard and Franciscan preachers who were with them, demol- ished the houses of ill-fame which the bishop of Winchester leased to Walworth the Lord Mayor, who sub-let them to ' the frows of Flanders.' The Essex men, on the same day, sacked the palace of the archbishop at Lambeth and burnt the Chancery Records. There must therefore have already been communication by boat with the Essex, Middlesex and Hertfordshire men who were in London. The bridge was still being held by the authorities with the drawbridge up. On June 13 the Surrey men 'cried to the warders of the bridge to let it down, whereby they might pass, or else they would destroy them all.' 2 These Surrey men were doubtless the people of the Surrey side of the Thames, ap- pealing to their London neighbours. So the mob passed over, and Sir William Walworth avenged the cause of order and his own private injuries together upon Wat the Tiler. But with the dispersal of the mob from London, undirected, puzzled perhaps and terrified at their own success, the state of confusion by no means ceased in the southern counties. The ruling classes drew armies together, and put down the Essex villeins after severe fighting, and marched through the counties south of the Thames with sword and halter. An extraordinary commission was appointed to deal with the offenders in Surrey and Sussex. At its head was the Earl of Arundel and Surrey, with William de Percy the sheriff, and five leading gentlemen. Guildford Castle, the common gaol of the two counties, was full of prisoners, and the earl was directed to . bestow the rest in his castles of Arundel and Lewes. The number at Guildford was too great to be kept securely, and one had escaped. Violent suppression was being answered by new threatenings of insurrection. In December, 1381, the Patent Rolls, whence we gather these particulars, show that commissioners were ap- pointed to preserve the peace, separate bodies for Surrey and Sussex with the earl at the head of each. They were commanded to arrest persons meeting in unlawful assemblies or who incited to insurrection, to suppress assemblies and to put down rebels by armed force. The words of the commission reveal to us the villeins and others they were not by any means only villani in the technical sense who were involved in the risings 1 Chertsey Ledger Book, fol. 173^. Not all however, fora Court Roll of Thorpe is said by Manning and Bray to be in existence of an older date than 1381. a Stowe. 362