IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 114: Fish and Famine: Natural Resources and Economy in the 14th and 15th Centuries

Monday 7 July 2008, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:John Lee, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Paper 114-aFrom Farmers to Fishermen: The Flooding of Barking Marsh in the Later Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Jim Galloway, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Geography and Settlement Studies, Local History
Paper 114-bFish, Flesh, and Fur: Eating and Wearing Animals in the Later Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Timothy Bowly, School of History, University of the West of England, Bristol
Index terms: Economics - Trade, Geography and Settlement Studies, Maritime and Naval Studies, Social History
Paper 114-cThe Epizootic Crisis of 1319-22: Evidence from England
(Language: English)
Philip Slavin, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
Index terms: Economics - General, Economics - Rural

Paper -a:
Barking Marsh, on the tidal Thames, was subject to recurrent and long-term flooding in the post-Black Death period. This paper examines the causes and consequences of flooding, and its relation to long-term climate change. The environmental and economic contexts within which flooding took place are outlined, and the reactions of lords and tenants to changing economic opportunities are explored.
Paper -b:
Animals were an important feature of the medieval economy. They were a source of food and provided raw materials for clothing and other consumer goods. This paper will concentrate on the 15th-century animal trade between Bristol and its trading partners, especially Ireland. The paper will use evidence from the Bristol customs accounts, wills, and early chancery proceedings. It will adopt an original approach and will consider the animal trade links in the context of the historical geography of the hinterlands and forelands of the various ports.
Paper -c:
The Great Famine (1314-17) and the Black Death (1347-51), the two main crises of the 14th century, have received considerable scholarly attention, while the cattle murrain, which ravaged almost all of western and central Europe between 1319 and 1322, was almost entirely ignored by scholars. My paper, based almost entirely on hitherto unpublished archival material, seeks to identify the origins of the murrain, to measure its extent, to pinpoint its geography, and show its economic and social consequences in England (mostly, eastern counties). The issue will be examined within a more general context and, hopefully, underline its relevance and contribution to 14th-century crisis.