Lady Godiva stopped Leofric’s Heregeld collection for King Canute

old coins

Lady Godiva’s naked horse ride stopped her husband Leofric collecting the Heregeld tax for King Canute, according to Ranulph Higden’s Polychronicon (1257) and an inquiry by Edward I. Both investigations found that all tax collection in Coventry stopped, except for taxes on horses. The first telling of the Godiva story, …

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Peasants’ Revolt: Wat Tyler and Richard II’s Poll Tax

Man on horse and rebels

June 1381 Peasants from across the south-east, led by Wat Tyler from Kent, stormed London in protest at the 15-year-old King Richard II’s shilling-per-head Poll Tax, raised to fund the war against France. On 2 June, two mass marches set off: From Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk From Kent and other …

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Jack Cade, rebel against Henry VI’s taxes and corruption

plaque reads: Near this spot was slain the notorious rebel Jack Cade by Alexander Iden, Sheriff of Kent. A.D. 1450. His body was carried to London and his head fixed upon London Bridge. This is the success of all rebels, and this fortune chanceth ever to traitors.

1450 Jack Cade’s rebels disliked many of King Henry VI’s policies, including a tax to fund the 100 Year War with France and the corrupt collection of the tax. A mix of clergymen and landowners, plus by some peasants, marched on London from Kent. They fought and won a battle …

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Cornish rebellion: Thomas Flamank and Michael Joseph An Gof

June 1497 Royal tax collector Sir Richard Flamank’s son Thomas Flamank, from Bodmin, and St Keverne blacksmith Michael Joseph An Gof led the Cornish tax rebellion. The rebels disliked Henry VII’s taxes raised to fund his war against the Scots. Flamank and An Gof spoke against the taxes, claiming a …

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Boston Tea Party – US War of Independence

stamp

1773 A rebellion in America over a tax on tea imported from Britain sparked the American War of Independence that led to the United States of America becoming an independent country. The East India Tea Company had struggled in Britain due to cheaper smuggled imports. As it owed the government …

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Community Charge – AKA the Poll Tax

T-shirt

31 March 1990 A Trafalgar Square riot after a 200,000-strong protest against the Community Charge – AKA the Poll Tax – prompted the downfall of prime minister Margaret Thatcher in November that year. Millions across the UK refused to pay the tax, causing the local councils that collected it cash-flow …

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