IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 1208: Economy and Society in Rural England

Wednesday 8 July 2015, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Matthew McHaffie, Department of History, King's College London
Paper 1208-aPeasant Textile Production Reshaping Feudal Villages: And Mentalities
(Language: English)
John Dixon, Independent Scholar, Ilkley
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Economics - Trade, Mentalities
Paper 1208-bIndividualism and Seigniorial Ideology at the Dawn of the 15th Century: An Intercommoning Dispute in Northern Suffolk
(Language: English)
David Routt, Department of History, University of Richmond, Virginia
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Local History, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 1208-cSuit of Mill and Customary Law in Medieval England
(Language: English)
Adam Lucas, Science & Technology Studies, University of Wollongong, New South Wales
Index terms: Economics - General, Historiography - Modern Scholarship, Law, Technology
Abstract

Paper -a:
At the micro level: by 1379 peasant networks deep in the Mid-Pennine dales were producing cloth for sale, an expanding industry later including Halifax. Other skilled crafts emerged in the villages: feudal ties were yielding to a cash economy. At the macro level: over the following century a thriving export trade in Yorkshire cloth emerged from the Humber, organised by dozens of small merchants. Signs of a rural peasantry making a decisive – and enduring – movement into independence in a market economy, and increasingly in touch with wider, European experience?

Paper -b:
A scholarly commonplace holds that the objectives of the largely abortive English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 were achieved gradually in subsequent decades through inexorable demographic and economic change. Less well examined is the evolving mentality of lord and especially peasant as the socioeconomic landscape shifted. Singular records arising from a dispute over commons in two northern Suffolk villages illumine not only a landlord’s seigniorial ideology but also his tenants’ understanding and even cooptation of it to achieve non-seigniorial ends. Disintegration both of the seigniorial fundaments and of the seigniorial mindset is exposed in deeper relief through this incident.

Paper -c:
The customary obligation of tenants to perform suit of mill (secta molendini or milne soken) is generally assumed to have originated during the late Anglo-Saxon period, although how the obligation first came into being and how it was subsequently disseminated has largely remained a mystery. Certainly by the time of Domesday, the custom appears to have become well-entrenched. Drawing on arguments developed in a recently published book for Ashgate, this paper argues that although the custom certainly did exist during Anglo-Saxon times, it was not until the late 11th century that it became increasingly widespread and an accepted part of life for many households, right up to the early 20th century in some parts of England.