Skip to main content Skip to navigation


We will study the poem in the Norton edition: William Langland, Piers Plowman, ed. by Elizabeth Robertson and Stephen H. A. Shepherd (Norton, 2006). This contains many of the additional texts and extracts that we will study alongside sections of Piers Plowman. All other extracts will be provided as PDF scans from the Library; this can be accessed from the module reading list.

Week 1 Prologue 

Piers Plowman B Prologue to Passus 1 

Thomas Brinton, sermon 69 (in Norton) 

Extract from Thomas of Walsingham, Historia Anglicana (the coronation of Richard II, 1377) (in Norton) 


Week 2 Satire and debate 

Piers Plowman B Passus 2-4 

Extract from Winner and Waster (in Norton) 

Extract from Symonye and Covetise (in Norton) 

Extract from Chronicon Angliae on the kings mistress (in Norton) 


Week 3 Confession and revision 

Piers Plowman B Passus 5 

Extract from Piers Plowman C Passus 5, ll. 1-108 (ed. by Pearsall) 

Extract from Cursor Mundi part 5, How to make shrift, ll. 28068-539 


Week 4 Labour and rebellion

Piers Plowman B Passus 6-7 

Extract from Piers Plowman C Passus 9, ll. 70-292 (ed. by Pearsall) 

The Statute of Labourers, 1351 (in Norton) 

The Letter of John Ball, sent to the Commons of Essex (in Norton) 

Week 5 Learning and salvation

Piers Plowman B Passus 8-12 

Extract from The Golden Legend (the story of Trajan from the Life of St Gregory) (in Norton) 

The Distichs of Cato (in Krochalis and Peters) 


Week 6 Patience, poverty, and the Church

Piers Plowman B Passus 13-15 

Thomas Brinton, Sermon 44 (in Krocahlis and Peters) 

Jacobus de Voragine, Life of Saint Paul the hermit, Life of Mary of Egypt, life of Saint Pelagius (extract on the life of Muhammad) 


Week 7 Biblical history

Piers Plowman B Passus 16-18 

Extracts from the Bible: Moses and the Ten Commandments, The Good Samaritan, Pauls allegory of Abraham (in Norton) 

Extract from The Gospel of Nicodemus (in Norton) 


Week 8 Apocalypse

Piers Plowman B 19-20 

‘Preste, Ne Monke, Ne Yit Chanoun’, ed. Dean 

Epistola Sathane ad Cleros, ed. Hudson 


Week 9 Fan fictions

Richard the Redeless and Mum and the Sothsegger, ed. Dean 


Week 10 Manuscripts and readers

Manuscripts from The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive and selected additional manuscript images 

Robert Crowley, ‘The Printer to the Reader’ (1550) (in Norton)