Everyday Life in Medieval England Paperback – 1 Jan 2001
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"This is an excellent book, not just in its detailed evidence but as an arresting survey of rural society, particularly at the sub-aristocratic level. It extends our knowledge of social history with new insights into how people lived, worked, ate, traded and related to one another." --Nicholas Orme.
This is an excellent book, not just in its detailed evidence but as an arresting survey of rural society, particularly at the sub-aristocratic level. It extends our knowledge of social history with new insights into how people lived, worked, ate, traded and related to one another. "Nicholas Orme.""
About the Author
Christopher Dyer is Professor of Medieval Social History at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of "Standards of Living in the Late Middle Ages."
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Top Customer Reviews
As an important beginning, the book sets out to define for the reader the medieval village and the inter relationship of its people. With this framework in mind, he then moves onto the more elusive topics of rural life. He looks closely at the diverse types of settlement patterns taking into account the growth and decline of rural community. Within this context he tackles the largely unexplored area of medieval community development, types of dwellings and local construction traditions.
The rural diet is also well illustrated, with detailed evidence on the consumption of fresh water fish and produce from medieval gardens. These insights take the reader to a greater understanding of the social structure and give a fresh insight into methods of agricultural production and where people went to trade.
The book is a strong and convincing read and would provide a solid basis for those looking for a broad spectrum of material spanning social history of the later Middle Ages.
It covers most aspects of ordinary life of the time and in doing so helps to dispel the frequent association in many peoples minds between the word medieval and a very poor quality of life. Life was often very difficult, but rather more often, more sophisticated and analogous to our own times than many of our contemporaries believe.
The book discusses the various aspects of medieval life on a topic by chapter basis which progresses from chapter 1: Power and Conflict in the Medieval English Village, via chapter 5: Changes in Diet in the Late Middle Ages, to chapter 14: The Hidden Trade of the Middle Ages ... to give just a sample of the broad ranging descriptions.
The Black Death is described as a great catalyst for change, but it was not an initiator of trends. Thus, "the rise of fresh meat to become the most important non-cereal food" was accelerated by the Black Death rather than instigated by it.
From records of building agreements, 'West Midlands Peasant Buildings, 1350 - 1500' are described in chapter 8 as: "84 per cent of the 113 Worcestershire buildings whose sizes were recorded, were either of three bays, ... (c. 4.6m x 13.8m), of of two bays, ... (c. 4.6m x 9.2 m), with three bays in a majority"; and the animals were usually separately housed. The one room flimsy shack was not by these accounts the habitat of the day.Read more ›
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