Catalogue


A country merchant, 1495-1520 [electronic resource] : trading and farming at the end of the Middle Ages /
Christopher Dyer.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2012.
description
xiii, 256 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0199214247 (hbk.), 9780199214242 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2012.
isbn
0199214247 (hbk.)
9780199214242 (hbk.)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8566198
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-04-01:
Dyer (emer., Univ. of Leicester) has written an unusual book about a critical period in English history, when dramatic changes in agriculture and economics were afoot with the enclosure movement and shifts away from feudalism toward capitalism. Even though the book is about country wool merchant John Heritage, it is not a biography but rather a local social and economic history that also incorporates religious and cultural history. The author focuses on commerce and the changing economy of the peasants and small merchants, dealing with land, profit, greed, and even the deserted and disappearing villages of the 16th century. Built upon a wide range of primary sources, the study emerged from the discovery of Heritage's account book, from which Dyer was able to reconstruct a great deal about a small town society in late-medieval, preindustrial Gloucestershire. In doing so, he provides a nuanced examination of the transition from medieval to early modern England and the often-complex lives of some of the small-scale country merchants and farmers. Valuable in any collection on preindustrial Europe. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries. J. J. Butt James Madison University
Reviews
Review Quotes
A Country Merchant is an invaluable contribution to historians understanding of the practicalities and realities of late medieval commerce, and allows us to see how the more positive account of the economy of this period can be witnessed in terms of lived reality.
an intruiging study of a commercial and agrarian society
"Dyer has written an unusual book about a critical period in English history, when dramatic changes in agriculture and economics were afoot with the enclosure movement and shifts away from feudalism toward capitalism. The author focuses on commerce and the changing economy of the peasants and small merchants dealing with land, profit, greed, and even the deserted and disappearing villages of the 16th century. He provides a nuanced examination of the transition from medieval to early modern England and the often-complex lives of some of the small-scale country merchant farmers. Valuable in any collection on preindustrial Europe. Recommended." --CHOICE
More than most historians, Dyer is able to conjure up a sense of what it must have felt like to be alive in the times about which he writes. His account of John Heritage and his world is both facinating and valuable.
More than most historians, Dyer is able to conjure up a sense of what it must have felt like to be alive in the times about which he writes. His account of John Heritage and his world is both fascinating and valuable.
This excellent book combines local and family history with landscape studies to provide a detailed and convincing account ... an outstanding and readable book that brings general concepts to life with its concentration on the reality of human experience in a distinctive Midlands landscape.
Reviewed in brief in Rural History Today July 2012
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2013
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is a major contribution to the economic and social history of a mysterious period, the years around 1500, using new evidence and methods of analysis. It presents a fresh and engaging view of history by highlighting an individual, John Heritage.
Long Description
Around 1500 England's society and economy had reached a turning point. After a long period of slow change and even stagnation, an age of innovation and initiative was in motion, with enclosure, voyages of discovery, and new technologies. It was an age of fierce controversy, in which the government was fearful of beggars and wary of rebellions. The 'commonwealth' writers such as Thomas More were sharply critical of the greed of profit hungry landlords who dispossessed the poor. Thisbook is about a wool merchant and large scale farmer who epitomises in many ways the spirit of the period. John Heritage kept an account book, from which we can reconstruct a whole society in the vicinity of Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire. He took part in the removal of a village which stood inthe way of agricultural 'improvement', ran a large scale sheep farm, and as a 'woolman' spent much time travelling around the countryside meeting with gentry, farmers, and peasants in order to buy their wool. He sold the wool he produced himself, and the fleeces he gathered, to London merchants who exported wool through Calais to the textile towns of Flanders. The wool growers named in the book can be studied in their native villages, and their lives can be reconstructed in the round,interacting in their communities, adapting their farming to new circumstances, and arranging the building of their local churches. A Country Merchant has some of the characteristics of a biography, is part family history and part local history, with some landscape history. Dyer explores themes in economic and social history without neglecting the religious and cultural background. His central concern is to demonstrate the importance of the peasants' contribution to a changing economy.
Main Description
Around 1500 England's society and economy had reached a turning point. After a long period of slow change and even stagnation, an age of innovation and initiative was in motion, with enclosure, voyages of discovery, and new technologies. It was an age of fierce controversy, in which the government was fearful of beggars and wary of rebellions. The 'commonwealth' writers such as Thomas More were sharply critical of the greed of profit hungry landlords who dispossessed the poor. This book is about a wool merchant and large scale farmer who epitomises in many ways the spirit of the period. John Heritage kept an account book, from which we can reconstruct a whole society in the vicinity of Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire. He took part in the removal of a village which stood in the way of agricultural 'improvement', ran a large scale sheep farm, and as a 'woolman' spent much time travelling around the countryside meeting with gentry, farmers, and peasants in order to buy theirwool. He sold the wool he produced himself, and the fleeces he gathered, to London merchants who exported wool through Calais to the textile towns of Flanders. The wool growers named in the book can be studied in their native villages, and their lives can be reconstructed in the round, interacting in their communities, adapting their farming to new circumstances, and arranging the building of their local churches. A Country Merchant has some of the characteristics of a biography, is part family history and part local history, with some landscape history. Dyer explores themes in economic and social history without neglecting the religious and cultural background. His central concern is to demonstrate the importance of the peasants' contribution to a changing economy.
Main Description
Around 1500 England's society and economy had reached a turning point. After a long period of slow change and even stagnation, an age of innovation and initiative was in motion, with enclosure, voyages of discovery, and new technologies. It was an age of fierce controversy, in which thegovernment was fearful of beggars and wary of rebellions. The 'commonwealth' writers such as Thomas More were sharply critical of the greed of profit hungry landlords who dispossessed the poor. This book is about a wool merchant and large scale farmer who epitomises in many ways the spirit of the period. John Heritage kept an account book, from which we can reconstruct a whole society in the vicinity of Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire. He took part in the removal of a village which stoodin the way of agricultural 'improvement', ran a large scale sheep farm, and as a 'woolman' spent much time travelling around the countryside meeting with gentry, farmers, and peasants in order to buy their wool. He sold the wool he produced himself, and the fleeces he gathered, to London merchantswho exported wool through Calais to the textile towns of Flanders. The wool growers named in the book can be studied in their native villages, and their lives can be reconstructed in the round, interacting in their communities, adapting their farming to new circumstances, and arranging the buildingof their local churches.A Country Merchant has some of the characteristics of a biography, is part family history and part local history, with some landscape history. Dyer explores themes in economic and social history without neglecting the religious and cultural background. His central concern is to demonstrate theimportance of the peasants' contribution to a changing economy.
Table of Contents
List of Maps and Figuresp. ix
List of Tablesp. x
Abbreviationsp. xi
Locating Places Mentioned in this Bookp. xii
A Note on Weights and Measuresp. xiv
Introduction: Living in 1495-1520p. 1
Population and Resourcesp. 5
The Transition to Capitalismp. 9
Institutionsp. 12
Commercializationp. 14
Social Restructuringp. 19
Sourcesp. 23
Family and Household: John Heritage and his Contemporariesp. 25
John Heritage and his Familyp. 25
The Heritage Family in Contextp. 41
John Heritage's Countryp. 54
The Landscape of HeritageÆs Countryp. 59
Links and Resemblancesp. 62
Towns and Communicationsp. 76
Conclusionp. 88
John HeritageÆs Wool Businessp. 91
Accountingp. 91
Making Contact with the Suppliersp. 100
Buying and Selling Woolp. 107
Paying for Commercep. 120
The Trajectory of the Businessp. 126
Pasture, Sheep, Wool, and Peoplep. 132
Peopling the Landp. 133
Grazing the Landp. 136
Deserted Village Sitesp. 137
Using Pasturep. 140
Demesnes and Pasturep. 150
Peasants and Pasturep. 153
A Profile of Wool Producersp. 155
Conclusionp. 162
Beyond the Account Book: Changing the Countrysidep. 164
Lordshipp. 164
Peasantryp. 174
Labourp. 193
Conclusionp. 196
Postscript: Signs of growthp. 196
Individuals and Communitiesp. 201
John Heritage the Individualp. 203
Individual and Collective Religious Practicep. 207
Town and Village Communitiesp. 209
Conclusionp. 221
Conclusionp. 222
Sample pages from the account bookp. 226
Tables of gathered wool Heritage's own wool, and wool pricesp. 228
Deserted villagesp. 230
Bibliographyp. 232
Indexp. 247
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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