A Rural Society After the Black Death: Essex 1350-1525

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 26, 1991 - History - 330 pages
A Rural Society after the Black Death is a study of rural social structure in the English county of Essex between 1350 and 1500. It seeks to understand how, in the population collapse after the Black Death (1348-1349), a particular economic environment affected ordinary people's lives in the areas of migration, marriage and employment, and also contributed to patterns of religious nonconformity, agrarian riots and unrest, and even rural housing. The period under scrutiny is often seen as a transitional era between 'medieval' and 'early-modern' England, but in the light of recent advances in English historical demography, this study suggests that there was more continuity than change in some critically important aspects of social structure in the region in question. Among the most important contributions of the book are its use of an unprecedentedly wide range of original manuscript records (estate and manorial records, taxation and criminal-court records, royal tenurial records, and the records of church courts, wills etc.) and its application of current quantitative and comparative demographic methods.
 

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Contents

People land and occupations
11
Geography of a local economy
32
The rural cloth industry
58
Houses
73
The total sum of all persons
89
Population aggregates over time
91
Components of demographic equilibrium
115
While it is so forward between us
135
Wages and labourers
211
Beware of such holy men
233
Authority and rebellion
235
Religious nonconformity and parochial activism
267
Literacy
284
Synthesis
293
The fourteenthcentury poll taxes
298
Timeseries of economic data
304

Marriage and household formation
137
Migration and settlement
163
She came that day seeking service
185
Servants
187

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