The duchy of Aquitaine, held by the English crown for 300 years, fell to the French king Charles VII first in 1451 and then again finally in 1453 after the Battle of Castillon. The decades leading up to and following these events saw successive acute economic crises that alternated with periods of great prosperity and these accompanied the development of critical divisions within the duchy’s political elites. This paper will explore the role Anglo-Gascon trade may have played in these tumultuous years at the end of the Hundred Years War.
The analytical concepts of ‘integration’ and ‘assimilation’ are often utilised by historians of immigration to late medieval England. Both concepts are problematic in a medieval context. ‘Assimilation’ implies that migrants shed elements of their own culture and replaced them with homogenous cultural traits of the host society, which is often an unrepresentative portrayal of how an immigrant interacted with their host society. Moreover, ‘integration’ is cumbersome notion which limits its use as it implies that either an immigrant had integrated with native society or they had not. As a concept, it does not allow the explanation of gradational incorporation of a migrant to society. Scholarship which relies upon these concepts lacks nuance and, consequently, provide unconvincing accounts of how immigrants incorporated themselves within their local environment. The concept of belonging, as a socially constructed category which revolves around inclusion and exclusion from multiple communities, is a more effective idea with which to analyse medieval source material. Petitions made by Dutch, French, and Italian migrants to the court of Chancery can be used to identify the criteria which immigrants had to meet in order to belong to, and thus be included within, their local communities in urban centres. This paper will explore how these petitions, in combination with probate records of immigrants, can be utilised to identify the strategies which migrants undertook to fulfil these criteria and thus negotiate their belonging with their local communities.
This paper explores the connection between precedent and memory in borough customary law. One of the most common types of precedents claimed in prologues to collections of borough customary law was past usage that stretched beyond the boundaries of living memory. Phrases such as ‘time immemorial’ and ‘from time out of mind’ were legal fictions, allowing lawmakers to legitimise practices by claiming their origins in a distant past and their continual usage down to their present day. This paper examines the variety of precedents, such as communal memory and civic traditions, which were invoked to give borough customs legal force.