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Medieval society and the manor court

edited by Zvi Razi and Richard Smith
Books/Monographs
English
Oxford, England : Claredon Press, ©1996
xiii, 709 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
9780198201908

Notes

The records of manorial courts have been used increasingly as the principal source for the reconstruction of rural and small town society in medieval England. They offer a unique source with which to investigate peasant demography, family patterns, the village community and economy, the characteristics and instruments of customary law, and the ways in which that law was perceived and exploited by landlords and tenants. The essays in this collection provide novel approaches to all of these themes and are written by many of the historians who have pioneered the use of this source category in the last two decades.

In two introductory chapters, the editors review the historiography of manorial court rolls and account for their origins as a distinctive record of customary law within the broad context of medieval European society. A valuable appendix contains an inventory of the most comprehensive unprinted manorial court roll series arranged systematically on a county-to-county basis, detailing the repository in which they are located. This book will serve as an essential reference tool for any serious study of medieval English rural society.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Introduction: The Historiography of Manorial Court Rolls / Zvi Razi and Richard M. Smith -- 1. The Origins of the English Manorial Court Rolls as a Written Record: A Puzzle / Zvi Razi and Richard M. Smith -- 2. What did Edwardian Villagers Understand by Law? / Paul R. Hyams -- 3. What did English Villagers Mean by 'Customary Law'? / Lloyd Bonfield -- 4. The Development of Deathbed Transfers in Medieval English Manor Courts / Lloyd Bonfield and L.R. Poos -- 5. Charitable Bequests, Deathbed Land Sales, and the Manor Court in Later Medieval England / Elaine Clark -- 6. Politics in Manorial Court Rolls: The Tactics, Social Composition, and Aims of a pre-1381 Peasant Movement / Peter Franklin -- 7. Merton College's Control of its Tenants at Thorncroft, 1270-1349 / Ralph Evans -- 8. The Dyffryn Clwyd Court Roll Project, 1340-1352 and 1389-1399: A Methodology and Some Preliminary Findings / A.D.M. Barrell, R.R. Davies, O.J. Padel and Ll. B. Smith.

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