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|Death:||15th July, 1381|
John Ball was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England. He was an English priest who took a prominent part in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. A sometime priest at York and at Colchester, he was excommunicated about 1366 for inflammatory sermons advocating a classless society, but he continued to preach in open marketplaces and elsewhere. After 1376, he was often imprisoned, and at the outbreak of the rebellion he was rescued from Maidstone prison by Kentish rebels, whom he accompanied to London. There he incited a crowd at Blackheath with the popular text “When Adam dalf and Eve span, Who was then a gentleman?” After the rebellion collapsed, he was tried and hanged at St. Albans. Knowledge of his career comes almost entirely from prejudiced chroniclers. Jean Froissart calls him the mad priest of Kent. Ball is the subject of William Morris’s romance A Dream of John Ball.
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