Ideas and Solidarities of the Medieval Laity: England and Western Europe, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ideas and Solidarities of the Medieval Laity

England and Western Europe, 1st Edition

By Susan Reynolds


264 pages

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Hardback: 9780860784852
pub: 1995-09-14
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This book contains essays written over the past 25 years about medieval urban communities and about the loyalties and beliefs of medieval lay people in general. Most writing about medieval religious, political, legal, and social ideas starts from treatises written by academics and assumes that ideas trickled down from the clergy to the laity. Susan Reynolds, whether writing about the struggles for liberty of small English towns, the national solidarities of the Anglo-Saxons, or the capacity of medieval peasants to formulate their own attitudes to religion, rejects this assumption. She suggests that the medieval laity had ideas of their own that deserve to be taken seriously.

Table of Contents

Contents: Social mentalities and the case of medieval scepticism; Medieval origines gentium and the community of the realm; What do we mean by ’Anglo-Saxon’ and ’Anglo-Saxons’?; Eadric Silvaticus and the English resistance; Magna Carta 1297 and the legal use of literacy; The history of the idea of incorporation or legal personality: a case of fallacious teleology; English towns of the 11th century in a European context; Towns in Domesday Book; The rulers of London in the 12th century; The farm and taxation of London, 1154-1216; Decline and decay in late medieval towns: a look at some of the concepts and arguments; The forged charters of Barnstaple; 1483: Gloucester and town government in the middle ages; Medieval urban history and the history of political thought; The writing of medieval urban history in England; Space and time in English medieval towns; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General