A Social History of the English Countryside by G. E. Mingay

By G. E. Mingay

Strains the increase and fall of rural England from the center a while to the second one international struggle and the character of the alterations that have happened.

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By G. E. Mingay

Strains the increase and fall of rural England from the center a while to the second one international struggle and the character of the alterations that have happened.

Show description

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Disputes arising over titles to land, boundaries of holdings, use of commons and performance of labour services were heard by the lord or his representative, and a judgement handed down in accordance with the custom of that particular manor. In time the force of custom became so strong that it created a considerable curb on the lord’s powers over his tenants. * * * The military ties that originally bound the vassal to his overlord weakened as the middle ages advanced. By the thirteenth century, if not earlier, vassals usually discharged their military obligations by paying a sum of money rather than by appearing in person, expensively equipped for war.

25 The wealthier landowners might perhaps be able to afford expensive glass in their windows, but more commonly the window space was filled by a lattice of wood or metal and covered by shutters in bad weather. The walls of the hall and private chambers were plastered and painted in bright colours or covered with murals depicting scenes from biblical stories or popular romances. In the fifteenth century those of greater wealth draped their walls with costly tapestries and Eastern embroideries. Vessels of gold and silver were displayed on the tables of the hall or on the cupboard, a term later applied to the chest in which the plate was locked away when not in use.

Many of the craftsmen and ironworkers were seasonal or part-time, spending part of their labour on their trade, the remainder on their land—little intakes from the forest for grain, often combined with grazing in the woodland pastures, and the keeping of cattle or sheep on the moors and fells. Usually the farming was subsidiary to some branch of the textile trades, to forestry, coal, lead and ore-mining, iron-working, or the making of items such as poles, hurdles, tubs and barrel staves from the local wood.

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