IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 128: Three Crises of the English Peasantry

Monday 1 July 2013, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Peasants at King's, King's College London
Organiser:Chris Lewis, Institute of Historical Research, University of London / Department of History, King's College London
Moderator/Chair:Joanna Ludwikowska, Department of English Literature & Literary Linguistics, Adam Mickiewicz University, PoznaƄ
Paper 128-aPeasants and Conquest: What Did the Normans Make of the English Peasantry?
(Language: English)
Chris Lewis, Institute of Historical Research, University of London / Department of History, King's College London
Index terms: Demography, Economics - Rural, Social History
Paper 128-bPeasants under Pressure: Population, Status, and Subsistence in the 13th Century
(Language: English)
Abby Stevenson, Department of History, King's College London
Index terms: Demography, Economics - Rural, Social History
Paper 128-cPeasants after Plague: Standards of Living in the Aftermath of the Black Death
(Language: English)
Alex Sapoznik, Department of History, King's College London
Index terms: Daily Life, Economics - Rural, Social History
Abstract

The session starts from three of the principal crises affecting the English peasantry during the Middle Ages: Conquest, population pressure, and plague. The Norman Conquest brought into juxtaposition conflicting social institutions, tenurial and legal concepts, and terminologies, with profound consequences for peasant status. In the 13th century rising population pressure and the fragmentation of holdings undermined status as well as household economies, but differentially between different categories of peasant. In the 14th century the Black Death ushered in what has been supposed a golden age for peasants, but standards of living in the late Middle Ages remains a hotly debated topic. One of several themes running through the session is how the changing terminology of groups within the peasantry can be mapped on to real changes in peasant status.