A plaque to commemorate John Ball - Colchester’s rebel cleric and one of the leaders of the Peasant

Several years ago the John Ball plaque was removed from the wall of a house in John Ball Walk at the request of the resident, the plaque was put into store and then lost. The Civic Society, conducted a long search before it was finally located. The Society arranged for the plaque to be restored by stonemasons Collins and Curtis Masonry Ltd, who kindly refused payment. Libby Kirkby-Taylor from Colchester Borough Council and Geoff Beales from Colchester Borough Homes worked with Colchester Civic Society to find a suitable place for it. The John Ball plaque was re-erected on a new purpose built stand and will be back, exactly where it should be in John Ball Walk! This memorial is to one of the most important men in the history of Colchester. This plaque was unveiled on Saturday 15th July 2017 at 4pm by the Bishop of Colchester and Baroness Chakrabarti CBE. 

The unveiling will happened on John Ball Day, which coincided with the date of John Ball's execution in 1381. Prior to the unveiling, a recording of the new John Ball Motet by Lizzie Gutteridge was played. After the unveiling, a choir performed “Who will be the Lady”. This was followed by Dorian Kelly, playing the role of John Ball - making a rallying speech to the people of Colchester.

John Ball was born at Peldon, Essex. He was a former priest at St. James Church on East Hill, Colchester. His religious doctrine conflicted with the established church, and he was excommunicated and forbidden to preach in church. In 1381 his radical rhetoric inspired the people and he joined forces with Wat Tyler in Kent. Ball was to become one of the leaders of the Peasants' Revolt, which marched on London, with thousands joining the throng - eventually the rebels put their demands to King Richard II.

After the uprising was quelled, Ball was captured and suffered a traitor’s death of hanging, drawing and quartering. He died on 15th July 1381, outside St. Alban’s Abbey in front of the king and a huge crowd.

Notes to editors
About Colchester Civic Society
Colchester Civic Society (est. 1964) is a voluntary run organisation aiming to: help preserve, develop and improve local amenities; encourage and arouse public interest in the beauty, history and character of Colchester; encourage a high standard of development and design in Colchester.

Further information
Press Liaison: Rosemary Jewers
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