Medieval peasant families are closely identified with the land to which they had a hereditary right, especially in periods of land scarcity. By contrast, historians in recent decades have become increasingly interested in the growing facility with which even servile tenants could exchange land, especially from the thirteenth century onwards. This book concerns the tension between these contrasting trends in the study of village life, showing how they were affected by changes over time and place.
Unlike earlier studies of the peasant land market, which have mostly concentrated on individual manors, this study employs the vast amount of evidence available from the Winchester bishopric estates between 1263 and 1415. It uses computerised technology to analyse 66,000 transactions across over 50 different manors ranging from Somerset to Surrey, and from Oxfordshire to Hampshire, providing unparallelled opportunities for comparing local and regional differences of experience.
John Mullan is a researcher and lecturer in Medieval History at Cardiff University. In 2000 he was appointed research associate on a Leverhulme-Trust-funded project researching the transfer of customary land on the estates of the Bishopric of Winchester, between 1350 and 1415.
Richard Britnell taught in the University of Durham from 1966 until 2003. He is a specialist in the economic and social history of the medieval period and is the author of several monographs and textbooks. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005.
ISBN 978-1-902806-95-2; September 2010; Paperback; 192pp
“An impressive study. Its generalizations about broad patterns are compelling ... its local case studies enhance our understanding ... It should offer a welcome stimulus to research on the medieval peasant land market.” Agricultural History Review
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