Book Series The Medieval Countryside, vol. 12

Town and Countryside in the Age of the Black Death

Essays in Honour of John Hatcher

Mark Bailey, Stephen Rigby (eds)

  • Pages: xxxviii + 473 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:58 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2012

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53517-3
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54257-7
  • E-book
  • Available

This collection of essays by many of the leading scholars of the medieval English economy focuses on one of the most fascinating periods in English social and economic history and provides a worthy tribute to the pioneering work of John Hatcher in this field.


"This collection of essays is a noteworthy and welcome contribution to this debate and forms a fitting Festschrift for such a pioneering figure in the study of the economic and social history of medieval England." (Dr Alex Brown, University of Durham in: Reviews in History, December 2012, URL:

"(...) the decision to allow contributions to develop their arguments at length and to include abundant supporting data and illustrations is well justified." (Chris Briggs, in: Journal of Continuity and Change, Volume 28/2, 2013, p. 317)

"Das relativ umfangreiche Buch, das zugleich einen Überblick über die englischsprachige Forschung der letzten Jahre bietet, ermöglicht eine faszinierende Lektüre, indem es demographische und epidemiologische Untersuchungen kontextualisiert." (Klaus Bergdolt, in: Sehepunkte, 13 (2013), Nr. 9)

"While the fifteenth-century "dark age" in available English documentation limits how much more the enormous and sophisticated labors of medieval demographic and economic historians cannot resolve longstanding debates about the era, promising new directions and methodologies appear throughout this volume." (Ann Carmichael, in: The Medieval Review, 13.04.04)

"A richly varied collection." (in: Northern History, Vol. L:2, short notices)


The arrival of the Black Death in England, which killed around a half of the national population, marks the beginning of one of the most fascinating, controversial and important periods of English social and economic history. This collection of essays on English society and economy in the later Middle Ages provides a worthy tribute to the pioneering work of John Hatcher in this field. With contributions from many of the most eminent historians of the English economy in the later Middle Ages, the volume includes discussions of population, agriculture, the manor, village society, trade, and industry. The book’s chapters offer original reassessments of key topics such as the impact of the Black Death on population and its effects on agricultural productivity and estate management. A number of its studies open up new areas of research, including the demography of coastal communities and the role of fairs in the late medieval economy, whilst others explore the problems of evidence for mortality rates or for change within the village community. Bringing together broad surveys of change and local case studies based on detailed archival research, the book’s chapters offer an assessment of previous work in the field and suggest a number of new directions for scholarship in this area.




Part I. The Medieval Demographic System

New Perspectives in Medieval Demography:The Medieval Demographic System — OLE BENEDICTOW

Measuring Adult Mortality in an Age of Plague: England, 1349–1540 — RICHARD M. SMITH

The Demography of Maritime Communities in Late Medieval England — MARYANNE KOWALESKI

Part II . Landlords and Peasants

Grain Yields on English Demesnes after the Black Death — BRUCE M. S. CAMPBELL

Risk and Capital Formation: Seigneurial Investment in an Age of Adversity — MARTIN STEPHENSON

The Black Death and its Immediate Aftermath: Crisis and Change in the Fenland Economy, 1346–1353 — DAVID STONE

Court Rolls as Evidence for Village Society: Sutton-in-the-Isle in the Fourteenth Century — ERIN MCGIBBON SMITH

The Arundell Estates and the Regional Economy in Fifteenth-Century Cornwall — PHILLIPP SCHOFIELD

The Late Medieval Decline of English Demesne Agriculture: Demographic, Monetary, and Political-Fiscal Factors — JOHN MUNRO

Part III. Trade and Industry

Selling Food and Drink in the Aftermath of the Black Death — JAMES DAVIS

The Role of Fairs in Late Medieval England — JOHN S. LEE

The Coal Industry in the Later Middle Ages: The Bishop of Durham’s Estates — RICHARD H. BRITNELL