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By L. R. Poos

A Rural Society after the Black dying is a research of rural social constitution within the English county of Essex among 1350 and 1500. It seeks to appreciate how, within the inhabitants cave in after the Black loss of life (1348-1349), a specific fiscal atmosphere affected traditional people's lives within the parts of migration, marriage and employment, and in addition contributed to styles of non secular nonconformity, agrarian riots and unrest, or even rural housing. The interval below scrutiny is usually visible as a transitional period among 'medieval' and 'early-modern' England, yet within the mild of contemporary advances in English ancient demography, this research means that there has been extra continuity than swap in a few seriously very important points of social constitution within the zone in query. one of the most vital contributions of the e-book are its use of an unprecedentedly wide variety of unique manuscript files (estate and manorial documents, taxation and criminal-court files, royal tenurial files, and the files of church courts, wills etc.) and its program of present quantitative and comparative demographic tools.

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7 per cent) of all tenancies expressed in arable acreages fell into this category in the seven manors aggregated together. 9 per cent) of all the manors' tenants would be classified as smallholders. And, once again, the wholly landless are excluded from these data. Such an extreme degree of polarisation in landed resources should be placed into comparative perspective. Though direct comparisons are by no means straightforward, smallholders in this Essex district were proportionately far more numerous than in other communities or regions of England in the last generations before the Black Death.

The very nature of many of the most commonly used sources for English local history changes considerably from the late 1300s to the mid-i5oos, a genuine barrier to perceiving the transition from 'medieval' to 'early-modern'. But one further body of material - the subsidy returns of 1524 and 1525 - suggests that in the early sixteenth century, central and northern Essex was little changed from the more immediately post-Black Death period in all these respects. 48 46 One unique example among the 1381 poll-tax returns makes this somewhat more explicit.

32. Great Waltham, 1328: BL Cotton Ch. 5. Margaretting (Fristling Hall), 1340: ERO D/DP M1411. People, land and occupations 17 [peciam] of land or a 'corner' [angulum], for example)17 that may generally be taken as implying in most cases very small holdings. 1 presents seven rentals from the sixty years before 1348, at the culmination of centuries of aggregate demographic growth in England at large. Although tenancy-size distributions were not absolutely uniform from manor to manor there was in fact a remarkably similar landholding profile in all these communities, from the quite small to the quite large.

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