This image depicts the detail of a much-larger illumination appearing in Jean Froissart’s Chronicle. Created by an unnamed medieval artist, sometime between 1385-1400, its title is “The Death of Wat Tyler at the hands of Walworth, Mayor of London, with the young Richard II looking on.”


Demanding written assurances from the King, Wat Tyler made clear he and his followers were not leaving until Richard II made good on his word. (See The Chronicles of Froissart, beginning at page 61.)

What believest thou, king, that these people and as many more as be in London at my commandment, that they will depart from thee thus without having thy letters?

Realizing he had to concede in order to control the mob, Richard II agreed:

Ye shall have them: they be ordained for you and shall be delivered every one each after other. Wherefore, good fellows, withdraw fair and easily to your people and cause them to depart out of London; for it is our intent that each of you by villages and townships shall have letters patents, as I have promised you.

Wat did not believe the king. Demanding the sword and dagger of one of the king’s squires, Tyler threatened the man. At that moment, William Walworth, the Lord Mayor of London, came on the scene with a dozen horses. Richard II told the Lord Mayor to "Set hands on him." Froissart tells what happened next:

Thou false stinking knave, shalt thou speak thus in the presence of the king my natural lord? I commit never to live, without thou shalt dearly abye it. [Note the original: ‘Jamais je veux vivre, si tu ne le compares.’]

Wasting no time, the Mayor followed his words with actions:

And with those words the mayor drew out his sword and strake Tyler so great a stroke on the head, that he fell down at the feet of his horse, and as soon as he was fallen, they environed him all about, whereby he was not seen of his company. Then a squire of the king’s alighted, called John Standish, and he drew out his sword and put it into Wat Tyler’s belly, and so he died.

Riding out alone to meet with Wat’s followers, the teen-age king reminded the peasants who was king:

Sirs, what aileth you? Ye shall have no captain but me: I am your king: be all in rest and peace.

It wasn’t exactly "peace" that the King had in mind for the rebels, however.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Mar 09, 2016

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"EXECUTION OF WAT TYLER" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2001. Feb 17, 2020.
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