A Rural Society after the Black Death: Essex 1350-1525 by L. R. Poos

By L. R. Poos

A Rural Society after the Black loss of life is a examine of rural social constitution within the English county of Essex among 1350 and 1500. It seeks to appreciate how, within the inhabitants cave in after the Black demise (1348-1349), a selected financial surroundings affected traditional people's lives within the components of migration, marriage and employment, and likewise contributed to styles of spiritual nonconformity, agrarian riots and unrest, or even rural housing. The interval below scrutiny is frequently obvious as a transitional period among 'medieval' and 'early-modern' England, yet within the gentle of contemporary advances in English old demography, this research means that there has been extra continuity than switch in a few severely very important points of social constitution within the zone in query. one of the most vital contributions of the publication are its use of an unprecedentedly wide selection of unique manuscript documents (estate and manorial files, taxation and criminal-court files, royal tenurial files, and the documents of church courts, wills etc.) and its program of present quantitative and comparative demographic equipment.

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The lay subsidy of 1334, pp. 79-89, and from Sheail, 'Regional wealth in England' vol. 2. The data for 1524 have been used here for Essex; those for 1525 differed only very marginally. 71. The coastal and northeastern hundreds of Essex also scored very high in this comparison. In 1334, Essex ranked only 26th, out of 39 counties with usable data, in assessed wealth per square mile: Glasscock, 'England circa 1334', p. 141. Geography of a local economy 35 sation, in the buying and selling of basic foodstuffs and clothing especially, since few had land enough to live in the self-sufficiency of an idealised peasant economy.

1. Distribution of tenancy sizes, seven Essex manorial rentals before the Black Death (1288-1340) Number of tenancies> in each sizecategory Matching 1288 House-site etc. only Unquantifiable >o~5 acres >5-io acres > 10-15 acres > 15-20 acres >20-25 acres >25~3o acres >3O~35 acres >35-40 acres >4O acres Total Stebbing 1294 Borley 1308 Middleton 1309 0 4 2 2 2 12 2 4 20 21 13 15 17 4 6 8 0 0 5 1 1 0 0 2 1 6 3 High Easter 1328 23 13 47 30 37 Great Waltham 1328 Margaretting 1340 Total 67 67 26 27 10 122 22 262 45 111 27 7 3 7 83 0 11 11 1 2 1 28 14 0 1 1 12 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 5 9 0 2 1 2 2 4 7 3 5 7 1 0 4 3 0 14 38 172 284 52 672 30 54 42 Sources: Matching (Househam Hall), 1288: PRO.

9 from Stebbing, 27 from Thaxted. 6 from Stebbing, 4 from Thaxted. 68; BL Add. Roll 65957; D/DHu M58. ERO possessed not much less than thirty acres, though their acreages ranged from less than five to more than a hundred. The mean holdings of both other groups in this sample put them definitively into the smallholder category, though here again in a few exceptional cases tenancies were rather larger. 39 A few examples will help to illustrate the range of situations concealed beneath these rudimentary statistics.

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