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Answer 82. Wat Tyler. If he was carried into St Bartholomew’s Abbey, it was because the distinction between an abbey and a hospital wasn’t clear cut in those days. They tended to be under the same roof.


Accounts vary, but this one at least suggests that Tyler didn’t stay in the Abbey long:

‘Wat had been carried by a group of commons to the hospital for the poor near St Bartholomew’s, and put to bed in the chamber of the master of the hospital. The mayor went there and found him, and had him carried out to the middle of Smithfield, in the presence of his companions, and had him beheaded.’

The peasants were outraged. They were about to counter attack when King Richard II rode forward to calm them down.

‘I am your King,’ he reminded them. ‘You have no other leader than me.’

The peasants grudgingly dispersed. The revolt was over, but they had made their point. The ruling classes were always careful to treat them better thereafter.

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St Bart's chucrh 1This is the original entrance to St Bartholomew’s, on the edge of Smithfield. That Norman archway may have been the last thing Wat Tyler saw in 1381, as he fell from his horse.

The Abbey didn’t survive the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but St Bartholomew’s Hospital is still going strong, one of the best in London.

Known as Bart’s, it’s where two characters from 19th century fiction were introduced, according to their creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 83. Name the two characters who met for the first time at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

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Five Days That Shocked the World

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