An Age of Transition?: Economy and Society in England in the Later Middle Ages

Paperback | May 31, 2007

byChristopher Dyer

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This significant work by a prominent medievalist focuses on the period of transition between 1250 and 1550, when the wealth and power of the great lords was threatened and weakened, and when new social groups emerged and new methods of production were adopted. Professor Dyer examines both the commercial growth of the thirteenth century, and the restructuring of farming, trade, and industry in the fifteenth century. The subjects investigated include the balance between individuals and the collective interests of families and villages. The role of thearistocracy and in particular the gentry are scrutinized, and emphasis placed on the initiatives taken by peasants, traders, and craftsmen. The growth in consumption moved the economy in new directions after 1350, and this encouraged investment in productive enterprises. A commercial mentalitypersisted and grew, and producers, such as farmers, profited from the market. Many people lived on wages, but not enough of them to justify describing the sixteenth century economy as capitalist. The conclusions are supported by research in sources not much used before, such as wills, andnon-written evidence, including buildings. Dyer argues for a reassessment of the whole period, and shows that many features of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries can be found before 1500.

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This significant work by a prominent medievalist focuses on the period of transition between 1250 and 1550, when the wealth and power of the great lords was threatened and weakened, and when new social groups emerged and new methods of production were adopted. Professor Dyer examines both the commercial growth of the thirteenth century...

Christopher Dyer is a Professor of Regional and Local History at the University of Leicester.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.63 inPublished:May 31, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019921526X

ISBN - 13:9780199215263

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. A New Middle Ages2. Community and Privacy3. Authority and Freedom4. Consumption and Investment5. Subsistence and Markets6. Work and LeisureConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`The book is firmly grounded in an exceptionally wide-ranging use of primary sources, characteristic of Dyer's work. [...] This is a stimulating book, which sparkles with Dyer's selection of telling examples and his eye for nuance. It will be enjoyed both by those researching the period and bythose approaching the study of pre-industrial society for the first time. 'Ben Dodds, Economic History Review