By Christopher Harper-Bill
East Anglia was once the main wealthy sector of Medieval England, and had monetary, spiritual and cultural connections with continental Europe. This quantity includes the complaints of a convention held on the college of East Anglia in September 2003. The eighteen papers diversity chronologically from the past due 11th to the 15th centuries, and concentrate on the huge subject matters of the panorama, city historical past, executive and society, faith and literary tradition.
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East Anglia used to be the main filthy rich quarter of Medieval England, and had financial, spiritual and cultural connections with continental Europe. This quantity comprises the complaints of a convention held on the collage of East Anglia in September 2003. The eighteen papers diversity chronologically from the overdue 11th to the 15th centuries, and concentrate on the extensive subject matters of the panorama, city historical past, executive and society, faith and literary tradition.
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Extra resources for Medieval East Anglia
Hay-making with traditional tools thus required good weather, abundant labour, and the careful timing of farming operations: ‘make hay while the sun shines’. 57 Hay meadows, it need hardly be said, operated best when large amounts of labour could be turned onto them at short notice: many a crop was saved by rapid carting and stacking. It is hardly surprising, then, that the early and extensive development of meadows and nucleated patterns of settlement tended to go hand in hand. In contrast, areas in which meadow was widely distributed, but limited in area, encouraged the development of a more mixed pattern, with nucleated villages in the major valleys, and smaller hamlets, freehold farms and minor manors beside the thinner ribbons of meadow in tributary valleys – and green-edge settlements on the meadowless interfluves.
This, as we have seen, was the classic settlement mix in Essex and east Hertfordshire (Fig. 2). And where very little meadow existed, as in much of northern East Anglia, large areas of pasture and wood-pasture had to be maintained, in order to allow grazing over a longer period than in the Midlands. Such areas formed powerful magnets for settlement as population rose in late Saxon times, and by the twelfth century the majority of farms had come to cluster on the margins of greens and commons (Fig.
A peaceful option for a long-term resolution of their difficulties involved the inhabitants reorganising their numerous farms and hamlets into common fields where the problems of competition would be minimised. The animals of the whole community were pastured together on the land which lay fallow or awaited spring cultivation. 26 But a number of scholars – starting with Bruce Campbell in the 1980s – have questioned whether population pressure alone would have been enough to bring about such a drastic change in the landscape, arguing that peasant farmers would not in themselves have been able to bring about changes in landholding of sufficient magnitude.