The changes that affected the English economic landscape between 1450 and 1550 are examined here through a close study of three south-eastern counties which provide a rich variety of sources. Mavis Mate pays particular attention to the growing commercialisation of the brewing industry and its impact on women, the expansion of trade with Normandy, Brittany and the Low Countries, and the rise of trade outside the market place. Using material from the lay subsidy rolls of 1524-5, she finds a sharp difference between towns in their distribution of wealth, the size of their alien population and the number of men earning wages of forty shillings. Although the growth of London undoubtedly influenced the areas south of the Thames, its markets were always in competition with local markets and the need to provision Calais. Other changes included the increasing exploitation of woodland to produce fuel, wood and charcoal, and the intensive cultivation of gardens, with the growing of hemp, saffron and all kinds of fruit trees. These developments would not have been possible without changes in the customary land market that allowed gentry, the yeomen, and merchants to buy up former bond-land and build up substantial holdings. As land accumulated in new hands, the former small-holders either disappeared or held their land under different terms. Their standard of living, which had improved in the hundred years after the Black Death, dropped when wages failed to keep pace with prices.
The late MAVIS MATE was Emerita Professor, University of Oregon.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 270
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 26 mm
A first-rate contribution to the scholarship, both regional and general, and there is no doubt that the book will be an important authority for years to come. SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL
[An] important study. [...] In one sense, it stands as a self-contained economic history of south-eastern England. [...] In another sense, it provides a major contribution to a larger debate about the recovery of the late medieval English economy. URBAN HISTORY
The strength of this study is that it provides a comprehensive account, both of a region, and of the impact of a range of economic and social changes. HISTORY
[An] interesting and important. RURAL HISTORY
A notable study of a curiously neglected corner of late-medieval England. THE RICARDIAN