1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Medieval Rural Life

Edited By Miriam Müller Copyright 2021
    408 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    408 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Handbook of Medieval Rural Life brings together the latest research on peasantry in medieval Europe.

    The aim is to place peasants – as small-scale agricultural producers – firmly at the centre of this volume, as people with agency, immense skill and resilience to shape their environments, cultures and societies. This volume examines the changes and evolutions within village societies across the medieval period, over a broad chronology and across a wide geography. Rural structures, families and hierarchies are examined alongside tool use and trade, as well as the impact of external factors such as famine and the Black Death. The contributions offer insights into multidisciplinary research, incorporating archaeological as well as landscape studies alongside traditional historical documentary approaches across widely differing local and regional contexts across medieval Europe.

    This book will be an essential reference for scholars and students of medieval history, as well those interested in rural, cultural and social history.


    Miriam Müller

    Part 1: Social Relationships, Communities and Hierarchies

    1. Rural Elites in Medieval Valencia, Spain

    Frederic Aparisi

    2. Monastic Lordship and Rural Society in the Middle Pesa Valley (Tuscany) from the Late Twelfth to the Late Thirteenth Century

    Tommaso Casini

    3. Lordship and Peasant Status in Lusignan and Venetian Cyprus

    Aysu Dincer

    4. From vicinia to communitas. The evolution of village organization and government in the 11th-15th century Poland

    Piotr Guzowski

    5. Creative Writing: How to create a rural community by writing about it – in the German South-West

    Mathias Moosbrugger

    6. The rural parish in England

    Robert Swanson

    Part 2: Dealing with Conflicts and Adversity

    7. The Monks and the Masses at Saint-Leu d’Esserent: Rural Politics in Northern France before the Jacquerie

    Justine Firnhaber-Baker

    8. Access versus Influence: Peasants in court in the late Medieval Low Countries

    Maika de Keyzer

    9. Famine in Medieval England

    Phillipp R. Schofield

    10. Climate, Pathogens and Mammals: England in the Age of Emerging Diseases, c. 1279-1362

    Philip Slavin

    Part 3: Work and Making a Living

    11. Peasant Farmers and their Farmworkers in Later Medieval England

    Jean Birrell

    12. Rural households and the market for commodities in the later middle ages

    Chris Briggs

    13. Tenure and the Land Market in Northeastern England: A Comparative Perspective

    Peter L. Larson

    14. Aspects of Farm Labour in Medieval Iceland; Gender and Childhood c. 1100 -1400

    Bernadette McCooey

    15. Technological Capacity of Women in the High Middle Ages

    Janken Myrdal and Ingvild Øye

    16. The economic opportunities of rural women in late medieval Flanders

    Lies Vervaet

    Part 4: Environment, Landscapes and Material Culture

    17. New Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life, Land, and Environment at Herstmonceux

    Steven Bednarski, Andrew Moore and Timothy P. Newfield

    18. Mediterranean Irrigation

    Antoni Furió

    19. The Pot, The Knife and the Ring; an Archaeology of later medieval material culture

    Christopher Gerrard and Ronan O’Donnell

    20. A landscape transformed: the English countryside during the long thirteenth century

    Richard Jones

    21. Work, knowledge and technology of medieval farmers in Sweden: understanding medieval and rural life from experimental field work

    Catarina Karlsson


    Miriam Müller has worked as a lecturer in medieval history at the University of Birmingham, UK. She has published on a wide range of topics about medieval rural life, including peasant revolts and gender in the English village. Her current research interests include medieval coastal communities, peasant revolts in northern Germany and the representation of medieval peasants in modern and contemporary far-right movements.