John Gower, Squire of Kent, the Peasants' Revolt, and the "Visio Anglie."

Bennett, Michael.

John Gower, Squire of Kent, the Peasants' Revolt, and the "Visio Anglie."

Bennett, Michael. "John Gower, Squire of Kent, the Peasants' Revolt, and the 'Visio Anglie'." Chaucer Review 53 (2018): 258-82. ISSN 0009-2002.

Bennett notes that "Though the status of John Gower as a squire of Kent is acknowledged, it has been generally assumed that the poet sold the manor at Aldington by Thurnham, his chief holding in Kent, in 1373, moving to Southwark shortly afterwards" (258). He clarifies the legal status of that transaction, which was not a sale but an enfeoffment to uses, which in fact allowed Gower all the privileges of ownership--including residential occupation--via a common sort of legal dodge. That Gower was "at home" in Kent in 1381 when the rebels swept through is evidenced by Bennett's discovery of "a plea of covenant [entered by Gower] against Walter Cookes, carpenter, requiring him to fulfil the terms of an indenture in which the latter agreed to construct 'de novo' a house at Aldington for Gower's use ['ad opus Iohannis'] and at his expense" (263). This document, if it "does not absolutely prove that Gower resided at Aldington, it demonstrates that in 1381, eight years after the grant of 1373, he still had a house there and was intent on rebuilding it for his use" (263). Bennett then analyses the "Visio," especially the first section which finds the authorial figure in the countryside, as a real-life narrative, if greatly transformed. The latter portion of the article devotes significant attention to the implications Gower's possible residence at Aldington has for, among other things, illuminating his circle of friends, and--through a strengthened connection with the Cobham family--his attitude in the "Cronica Tripertita" toward Richard II. [RFY. Copyright. The John Gower Society. eJGN 37.2.]


Gower Subjects
Biography of Gower
Vox Clamantis
Cronica Tripertita