Wat Tyler

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Wat Tyler (right) refuses to pay his tax. This is a rare picture where Tyler is not wearing his trademark hat.

“"Wat" sounds like "What", which could get confusing when people ask for his name. Geddit!?”
~ Terry Deary on how to exploit one joke

Walter "Wat" Tyler was a self-proclaimed rebel who was the frontman and instigator of the 1381 Peasants' Revolt, a 14th century punk rock band from Kent, England. The name "Wat Tyler" is indeed not his birth name; Tyler changed his surname to match his occupation as a tiler, since his birth name was a long, unpronounceable German-like name akin to that of a Germanic beer (IE a common 1300s name).

Although Wat Tyler's legacy is not as famous as later rebels like heavy metal musician William Wallace (known for such hits as "William Wallace, Scottish Rebel"), Wat Tyler has enjoyed some appreciation and his legacy hasn't been tarnished by an awful Mel Gibson fiction.

edit Origins

For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Wat Tyler.

Aside from being born with a horrid surname in Kent, not much is known about Wat Tyler's early life. However, being a peasant, it most likely involved excessive amounts of agriculture and farming. Meanwhile, in London, young boy King Richard II hadn't the sufficient money to afford his expensive luxury lifestyle. He had the bright idea of establishing poll tax, which was forcing the peasants to pay for his raspberry pies. However, to the young king's astonishment, the peasants were slightly displeased with being forced to pay the king to stuff his face without even being allowed to watch. Wat Tyler decided to stick it to the Man by writing songs about how the tax pissed him off.

edit Peasants' Revolt


Wat Tyler's moshpit goes out of hand.

Wat Tyler gathered himself a crew of friends and founded the world's first punk rock band, the Peasants' Revolt, although the first rule of punk is no matter how far back you go, you will never find the true "first" punk band; in this case, the French peasants made one called the Jaquerie Rebellion about 24 years earlier, to no success.

Like most early punk bands, their legacy would not be very famous (although they certainly outshined those smelly French folk, because they have a Wikipedia article of their own), but nonetheless they enjoyed the support of nearly everyone in England that wasn't an inbred. After releasing a few self-produced albums, Wat Tyler decided that cold-blooded murder, vandalism, rioting and sheer ruthless destruction was the way for a punk to go. Thus, Tyler and his band set off to London, destroying anything they saw on the way, and killing any random lord or merchant that happened to appear in front of them.

Joining them for this last leg of the tour was Tyler's odd buddy John Ball. Known also as the 'Singing Priest', Ball guest vocaled with Tyler on a number of songs. The best known was "Adam and Eve", famous for such lyrics as "When Adam delved and Eve span/Who was then Desperate Dan?". The fans liked it and hoped for more collaborations in future.

edit Final Gig and Death


Wat Tyler's beer.

Tyler reached London, and the Peasants' Revolt played their biggest concert yet, drawing tens of thousands of peasants to the gig. The 14 year old king even went to see Tyler's gig. The king was impressed, and as a reward for such a cool gig Richard II promised to give the peasants the freedom, equal rights and proper wages they'd asked nicely (according to them) for. Wat Tyler didn't realise was that Richard II was a deceitful little dick. After politely asking for a "flagon" (a funny mediæval term) of water because of the great heat he was in, Tyler allegedly rinsed his mouth in a "rude and disgusting fashion before the king", which according to mediæval rich folk, probably meant he drank the water he was given instead of killing himself and surrendering to the king.

After drinking the water and promising to end the rebellion, William Wallsworth, the Lord Mayor of London, went up to Tyler and shanked him with one of them funny Arabic swords. King Richard revoked all the promises he'd given to the peasants, pointed and laughed at their faces and ran off dancing, still laughing at how much of a prankster he was that day. The king's men cut off Tyler's head and stuck it on a pole. The other peasant leaders including John Ball got it even worse. He was split five ways with his head spiked on London Bridge and his testicles turned into ear ornaments for the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Ironically, many years later, King Richard II was overthrown, locked in a dungeon and starved to death. The peasants still didn't win.

edit Discography

Tyler's band the Peasants' Revolt never did release a full length album, since he was alive in the mediaeval days when records only had enough room for a few songs - full length LPs did not come into existence until the days of Edward IV many centuries later. However, Tyler's band left a number of hits to their name:

  • Anarchy in what will soon be the UK
  • Blackheath Bop
  • Astro Rebels
  • Double Shillings on the Sixpence

edit See Also

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