Bride Ales and Penny Weddings: Recreations, Reciprocity, and Regions in Britain from the Sixteenth…

Hardcover | April 6, 2014

byR. A. Houston

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Some of the poorest regions of historic Britain had some of its most vibrant festivities. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the peoples of northern England, Lowland Scotland, and Wales used extensive celebrations at events such as marriage, along with reciprocal exchange ofgifts, to emote a sense of belonging to their locality. Bride Ales and Penny Weddings looks at regionally distinctive practices of giving and receiving wedding gifts, in order to understand social networks and community attitudes.Examining a wide variety of sources over four centuries, the volume examines contributory weddings, where guests paid for their own entertainment and gave money to the couple, to suggest a new view of the societies of "middle Britain", and re-interpret social and cultural change across Britain.These regions were not old fashioned, as is commonly assumed, but differently fashioned, possessing social priorities that set them apart both from the south of England and from "the Celtic fringe". This volume is about informal communities of people whose aim was maintaining and enhancing social cohesion through sociability and reciprocity. Communities relied on negotiation, compromise, and agreement, to create and re-create consensus around more-or-less shared values, expressed in traditionsof hospitality and generosity. Ranging across issues of trust and neighbourliness, recreation and leisure, eating and drinking, order and authority, personal lives and public attitudes, R. A. Houston explores many areas of interest not only to social historians, but also literary scholars of theBritish Isles.

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Some of the poorest regions of historic Britain had some of its most vibrant festivities. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the peoples of northern England, Lowland Scotland, and Wales used extensive celebrations at events such as marriage, along with reciprocal exchange ofgifts, to emote a sense of belonging to their loc...

Robert Allan Houston was born in Hamilton, Scotland, lived in India and Ghana, and was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and St Andrews University before spending six years at Cambridge University as a research student (Peterhouse) and research fellow (Clare College). He has worked at the University of St Andrews since 1983 and is Prof...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pagesPublished:April 6, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199680876

ISBN - 13:9780199680870

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Marriage and Recreation, Historians, and Social ScientistsPART I: ALES AND BRIDALS: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SOCIABILITIES1. Communal Drinkings in England and Wales, c.1400-16002. Religious Change and the Demise of English Church Ales3. Public and Private Festivities: The Geography of Church and Other AlesPART II: WEDDING CELEBRATIONS IN EARLY MODERN BRITAIN4. Weddings in South-East England5. Recreations, Religion, and Bridals in Post-Reformation Scotland6. Who Held Contributory Weddings and Why?7. The Costs and Benefits of Bridals8. Country, Town, and the Commercial Element in Hospitality9. The Social Universe of Contributory Weddings10. NumbersPART III: COERCION AND THE LIMITS OF VOLUNTARISM11. Lovedargs, Boon Days, and Boon Works12. Thigging13. CymorthauPART IV: CONTEXTS AND COMPARISONS14. Contempory Explanations of Cultural Change15. Regional Socio-Economic Contexts16. Cultural Patterns and the 'Celtic Fringe'17. Cultural Patterns and Continental Parallels18. The Decline of ReciprocityConclusionBibliography