Digging into my ancestry has unearthed a story of one of my ancestors who was beheaded in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 in England. Not sure if he is a direct ancestor (I doubt it because he was decapitated at the age of 22 and had only one child), but he is a part of the family lore.
About a month ago I was in attendance at a performance of Celtic music played by my friends Patrick Hutchison and Jeff Deeprose. Their repertoire included many songs that were actually ancient stories of derring-do that have been passed down through the ages by minstrels in pubs and taverns. I thought “Hey, maybe I can write a song about John Hanchauch (variation of Hanchet)!”
I researched the Wat Tyler Rebellion and The Peasant's Revolt (the same thing) and determined that it was a righteous protest against injustice. I was worried that he might be like the recent "Freedom Convoys" and the infamous dolts of January sixth. I think not. They were protesting against the Feudal system and the injustice of taxation from the people least able to afford it. In present day terms, it is like the rich paying an insignificant percentage of their income while the same percentage from farmers and tradesmen is a huge dent in their breadwinning. I hate the idea of "classes" as in upper and lower and middle classes. I have seen wealthy people with no "class" and I have seen people with nothing sharing what they have and exhibiting more "class" than most people will ever have within them. I am a Canadian and I have a strong socialist bent. I resent Royalty and deplore "celebrity" and don't get me started on Privilege and billionaires,etc. I hope this (admittedly an ear worm of a) song sees traction. Please share it widely. Oh, the 14th century was a very rough age unless clothes of silk was what you wore on top of plague, famine and war, they want to tax us even more But We’re not going to take it any more how much you going to bleed us for you bastards how much you going to take from us in taxes how much you going to bleed us for you bastards We’re not going to take it anymore John Ball had a dream in which every human being was an equal and shared the bounty of the land where the rich became aware of the people in their care Who felt the balance of wealth was unfair how much you going to bleed us for you bastards?.. "When Adam delved and …Eve span Who was then the gentleman?" who made you king and me an underling? I’m not going to bow to you no more how much you going to bleed us for you bastards?.... silly king Richard was only fourteen he never ever learned to play nice they did his sums while he twiddled his thumbs and he followed all their bad advice they said tax em once, tax em once again take away their milk, take away their grain we need more money to pay for more war the treasury’s weakened, better tax em some more how much you going to bleed us for you bastards?..... At only twenty two John Hanchauch, to be true Led some men on up to Cambridge town These men had no fear, and their mission was clear Find the manors of their foes and burn them down John’s future had been shining bright before him at twenty years of age, he’d just been wed But he couldn’t stand the rules of these aristocratic fools And in just two years he’d lost his head Henry DeSpencer, fighting bishop for the king Needed somebody to fail Dispenser of “justice” ordered the axe And Hanchauch’s head fell in the pail. how much you going to bleed us for you bastards how much you going to take from us in taxes how much you going to bleed us for you bastards We’re not going to take it anymore how much you going to bleed us for you bastards Headless men can’t pay taxes how much you going to bleed us for you bastards You’ll get nothing from me anymore