‘When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?’ England’s peasants had had enough of feudalism by 1381 and wouldn’t stand for it any more. The ruling classes learned the lesson and treated them much more circumspectly after the revolt was over.
The shrine that Imworth clung to has changed since the peasants’ day. The base is original, but the rest was destroyed in 1540 during the dissolution of the monasteries. A new top was added in 1557 after the storm had passed.
On 28 February 1784, the prime minister of the day was arriving by coach when he was suddenly attacked by a mob. At a time of great political turmoil, his opponents had apparently hired some ruffians to beat him up with broken chair poles:
‘Several desperate blows were aimed at Mr ****, and I recollect endeavouring to cover him, as well as I could, in his getting out of the Carriage.
‘Fortunately however, by the exertions of those who remained with us, and by ye timely assistance of a Party of Chairmen, and many Gentlemen from Whites, who saw his danger, we were extricated from a most unpleasant situation, and with considerable difficulty, got into some adjacent houses… and from thence to White’s.’
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 76. That’s no way to treat a prime minister. Who was he?
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