Commercial Activity, Markets and Entrepreneurs in the Middle Ages

Commercial Activity, Markets and Entrepreneurs in the Middle Ages

Essays in Honour of Richard Britnell

Edited by Ben Dodds, Christian D. Liddy


Boydell Press



Numerous aspects of the medieval economy are covered in this new collection of essays, from business fraud and changes in wages to the production of luxury goods.
Long dominated by theories of causation involving class conflict and Malthusian crisis, the field of medieval economic history has been transformed in recent years by a better understanding of the process of commercialisation. In recognition of the important work in this area by Richard Britnell, this volume of essays brings together studies by historians from both sides of the Atlantic on fundamental aspects of the medieval commercial economy. From examinations of high wages, minimum wages and unemployment, through to innovative studies of consumption and supply, business fraud, economic regulation, small towns, the use of charters, and the role of shipmasters and peasants as entrepreneurs, this collection is essential reading for the student of the medieval economy.

Contributors: John Hatcher, John Langdon, Derek Keene, John S. Lee, James Davis, Mark Bailey, Christine M. Newman, Peter L. Larson, Maryanne Kowaleski, Martha Carlin, James Masschaele, Christopher Dyer


October 2011
2 black and white, 5 line illustrations
272 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843836841
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, BUS023000
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Table of Contents

Richard Britnell: An Appreciation
Unreal Wages: Long-run Living Standards and the 'Golden Age' of the Fifteenth Century - John Hatcher
Minimum Wages and Unemployment Rates in Medieval England: The Case of Old Woodstock, Oxfordshire, 1256-1357 - John Langdon
Crisis Management in London's Food Supply, 1250-1500 - Derek J Keene
Grain Shortages in Late Medieval Towns - John S. Lee
Market Regulation in Fifteenth-Century England - James Davis
Self-Government in the Small Towns of Late Medieval England - Mark Bailey
Marketing and Trading Networks in Medieval Durham - C. M. Newman
Peasant Opportunities in Rural Durham: Land, Vills and Mills 1400-1500 - Peter L. Larson
The Shipmaster as Entrepreneur in Medieval England - Maryanne Kowaleski
Cheating the Boss: Robert Carpenter's Embezzlement Instructions (1261 x 1268), and the Employee Fraud in Medieval England - Martha Carlin
The Public Life of the Private Charter in Thirteenth-Century England - James Masschaele
Luxury Goods in Medieval England - Christopher Dyer
Bibliography of the Writings of Richard Britnell
Tabula Gratulatoria


A real strength of this festschrift is its masterful editing, and those keen enough to read it from cover to cover will benefit from the clear thematic threads linking all the chapters. HISTORY

These studies are clearly written and analytical in tone. They employ detailed source criticism and local case-studies in order to participate in debates and controversies of wider significance, and open up entirely new subjects for discussion. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

Should be required reading for all who study late medieval England. CULTURAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY

Should be required reading for all who study late medieval England. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

A fine collection of often thought-provoking essays. THE RICARDIAN

This festschrift is more successful than many in presenting a thematically cohesive body of research, most of which will be of interest to the historian of small towns and their rural hinterlands. (...) A useful volume which contains much of interest to the urban historian. URBAN HISTORY

A more coherent volume than many such collections manage to be. (...) Graduate students would be well advised to regard (the essays) as models of scholarship, not just as sources of information. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

There is much in this volume to broaden understanding of medieval society and the editors are to be congratulated on bringing together essays which so deftly illustrate the range of Richard Britnell's own work. JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY

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