A Companion to Britain in the Later Middle Ages (Blackwell by S. H. Rigby

By S. H. Rigby

This authoritative survey of england within the later heart a long time includes 28 chapters written by way of best figures within the field.
Covers social, fiscal, political, non secular, and cultural background in England, eire, Scotland, and Wales.
Provides a advisor to the old debates over the later heart Ages.
Addresses questions on the cutting edge of old scholarship.
Each bankruptcy contains feedback for additional interpreting.

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The results came slowly and they were hard won. There was a very real risk, therefore, that the Ricardian dilemma would resurface and diminishing returns would once more be incurred. Brian Outhwaite believes that re-expansion of the tillage area resulted in precisely this. From the late sixteenth century, falling real wage rates and mounting rural underemployment imply that there was similar downward pressure upon labour productivity. Once again living standards fell as they had done during the second half of the thirteenth century.

But the spectre of famine had not been banished. From the late sixteenth century dearth and famine became recurrent, especially in proto-industrial areas in the north dependent upon grain purchases. Without a curtailment of fertility and large-scale emigration to Ireland and North America the problem would have been much worse. As in the half-century or so before the Black Death, the Malthusian dilemma remained as real as ever. On this occasion it was contained by a combination of preventive and positive checks, although the latter were again in large part autonomous.

Many lived at a subsistence level but they provided for their subsistence by participating in the market. Geoffrey Chaucer’s poor widow and her two daughters in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale are a clear if fictional example. Great landlords alone possessed a sufficiently large and broad portfolio of resources to insulate themselves from the market and practise total autarky, yet even they were impelled into market participation by their innate tendency to overproduce and desire for the good things that money could buy.

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