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By Christopher Dyer

Christopher Dyer examines the transition within the financial system and society of britain among 1250 and 1550. utilizing new resources of facts, he demonstrates that very important structural adjustments after 1350 equipped at the advertisement development of the 13th century. He indicates that improvement of person estate, reaction to new intake styles, and use of credits and funding, got here from the peasantry instead of the aristocracy. An Age of Transition?, an important new paintings by way of a most sensible medievalist, finds how England used to be set on track to develop into the 'first business nation'.

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Extra resources for An Age of Transition?: Economy and Society in England in the Later Middle Ages (The Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford in Hilary Term 2001)

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F. HR 45 (1992), 240–61. 57 Guildhall Library, Corporation of London, Ms. 25304. 58 The extent to which waterways were navigable is a matter for controversy, but clearly large parts of the country could not be reached by boat: E. Jones, ‘River Navigation in Medieval England’, 54 24 A New Middle Ages The full range of towns of every size and type has recently been fully recognized. 59 The definition, which avoids institutional characteristics and focuses attention on economies and functions, means that we can draw the line between towns and villages with a little more certainty, and therefore make some assessment of the importance of towns in relation to the countryside.

70 D. Enright and M. Watts, A Romano-British and Medieval Settlement Site at Stoke Road, Bishop’s Cleeve, Gloucestershire, Cotswold Archaeology: Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Reports, 1 (2002), 70–4. A New Middle Ages 29 between those of the peasants and those of the bishops. The striking feature of these figures, which can be paralleled by other examples, is that they show the lord pursuing the strategy often associated with peasants, by growing crops for a variety of purposes, including his own consumption, and avoiding risk by planting different crops.

Even in the thirteenth century, at the height of their wealth, the lords were managing directly a quarter or a fifth of the productive land, and had incomplete powers of social control. They were inhibited by the resistance of those below them, and by the limitations imposed by the state. In their foundations of commercial centres they were seeking to profit from points of exchange, but were not directing or initiating trade. Technical innovations tended to come from below, born out of the practical experience of peasants and artisans.

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