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Statute of Labourers


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(1351)

A statute passed after a large part of the English population had died of the Black Death. It followed an ordinance of 1349 in attempting to prevent labour, now so much scarcer, from becoming expensive. Everyone under the age of 60, except traders, craftsmen, and those with private means, had to work for wages which were set at their various pre‐plague levels. It was made an offence for landless men to seek new masters or to be offered higher wages. The statute was vigorously enforced for several years and caused a great deal of resentment; it was specifically referred to in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.


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