The original Jack Straw (14th C)

men-s-original-panama-jack-straw-safari-hat-one-size-fits-all-ted-nugent-type-311509f699e50e743f1e6dbe4d7e9866Going back in history, there was a significant event in England called the Peasant’s Revolt. Its reasons were the injustice of the feudal system, the Black Death, and the increase in tax as a result of the Hundred Years’ War, all recorded facts.

The English history annals have been altered by the legends and myths in an attempt to captivate the readers. The writers and bards of those days would have been the equivalent of today’s Hollywood movies, leaving traces of their embellished stories in the way.

To this day, the existence of a revolt leader called “Jack Straw” is uncertain. A theory suggests that “Jack Straw” was the nickname used by one of them; others dare to think that all the men who led the revolt were the same person using different pseudonyms. Funnily enough, the current Jack Straw is also using this name as a pseudonym.

In order to find out who Jack Straw was, there should be a focus on England’s situation at the time. The feudal system was imposed to organize the realm. According to it, the monarch was at the top of the pyramid with the lords beneath him and the peasants at the very bottom, working for the lords. The peasants were in complete disadvantage in terms of rights, possessions, income and justice. Many peasants died when the Black Death arrived to England, leaving those who were left with better incomes; however, the Hundred Years’ War led the crown to increase taxes. The peasants were consequently quite unhappy, and an upheaval against the king took place in 1380.

Legend has it that a priest called Jack Straw (presumably after a passionate speech) led the parishioners from a churchyard in Essex to London where they would ask the king for justice. This escalated into the violent acts that are nowadays known as the Peasants’ revolt.

Even if the turmoil had no immediate success and all the leaders were assassinated, it eventually helped alter the feudal laws for better. Jack Straw was remembered in England as a martyr of the needy.