IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 814: Market Reactions to Natural Disasters

Tuesday 8 July 2008, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:John Lee, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Moderator/Chair:Richard H. Britnell, Department of History, Durham University
Paper 814-a'Go├× or wey, corn is dere!': Attitudes towards Grain Traders in 14th-Century England
(Language: English)
James Davis, School of History & Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast
Index terms: Economics - General, Economics - Trade, Economics - Urban
Paper 814-bThe 14th-Century Crises and the Land Market
(Language: English)
Margaret Yates, Department of History, University of Reading
Index terms: Economics - General, Economics - Rural, Economics - Trade
Paper 814-cDisruptions to Fairs in Late Medieval England
(Language: English)
John Lee, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Index terms: Economics - General, Economics - Trade, Economics - Urban

This session explores the reactions in different types of markets in England to crises in the natural environment.

Paper-a examines how both legislators and moralists reacted to the adverse natural and economic conditions of the early-14th century, when bad harvests caused major price fluctuations in the grain trade. Could it be argued that cornmongers and bakers bore the brunt of moral invective, while laws were more realistic in their approach? To what extent were the concerns and suggested remedies of moral writers related to the conditions of the grain trade at a time of natural crisis, or were they were merely repeating the conventional ripostes of earlier commentators? Similarly, were the responses of the authorities justified and informed by a practical understanding of market mechanisms?
Paper-b examines the repercussions identifiable in the land market to the crises of the 14th century. It will demonstrate that landowners were remarkably consistent in their reactions but with significant regional variations in the chronology of their response that has implications for our understanding of the agrarian and demographic crises.
Paper-c explores disruptions to English fairs during the later middle ages, looking at the impact of both natural disasters and man-made disruptions. It examines the long-term extent of contraction in trading activities at fairs after the crises of the 14th century, as well as short-term disruptions caused by adverse weather, disturbances, and merchants boycotting fairs.