Land and People in Late Medieval England: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Land and People in Late Medieval England

1st Edition

By Bruce M.S. Campbell


344 pages

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Hardback: 9780754659471
pub: 2009-03-28
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This is the third collection of articles by Bruce Campbell to appear in the Variorum series. Late medieval England was an overwhelmingly rural society. Never since has such a large proportion of the population lived in the countryside or relied so directly for its livelihood upon agriculture. The lot of a majority of that population was always a hard one - and never more so than during the first half of the 14th century, when peasants competed with each other for ever-scarcer land and work and a succession of major harvest failures jeopardised the survival of many. Nevertheless, experience varied considerably, both during this era of mounting population pressure and the century and more of population decline and stagnation that followed the demographic disaster of the Black Death. How well individual communities coped during these contrasting conditions of expansion and contraction owed much to the quality and composition of their natural-resource endowment, a good deal to their ability to take advantage of changing commercial opportunities, and sometimes almost everything to how exposed they were to military conflict. Always, however, much hinged upon how the twin feudal institutions of lordship and serfdom were mapped onto land and people via the manorial system. These are the themes variously explored by the eight essays assembled in this volume, which range from a case-study of a single crowded Norfolk manor to a consideration of the broad and, towards the end of the Middle Ages, widening contrasts that persisted between North and South.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Portrait of Britain: AD 1300; Population pressure, inheritance, and the land market in a 14th-century peasant community; The agrarian problem in the early 14th century; The complexity of manorial structure in medieval Norfolk: a case study; A unique estate and a unique source: the Winchester pipe rolls in perspective; England: land and people; The land; North-South dichotomies, 1066-1550; Index.

About the Author

Bruce M.S. Campbell is Professor of Medieval Economic History at the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, The Queen's University of Belfast, UK.

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