Holford mapping the medieval countryside 2014-06-17


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  • From CIPM 7 subject index
  • This slide is supposed to be blank to provide a break between the first and second sections of the presentation.
  • From CIPM 6 and 18, subject indexes
  • c. 275 holdings mentioned as enfeoffed to others (enfeoffments not always reported of course)
  • 100s: Emlyn Uwch Cuch commote (23.218), Dunster (borough) and Minehead (23.52)
  • Holford mapping the medieval countryside 2014-06-17

    1. 1. • AHRC funded research project for online publication and dissemination of the medieval English inquisitions post mortem, • Jan. 2011- Dec. 2014 • Department of History, University of Winchester, and Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London • Inquisitions post mortem (IPMs): nature, publication history and historical value • Online publication: our project • Rationale • Approach • Findings
    2. 2. Inquisitions post mortem
    3. 3. The ‘feudal pyramid’
    4. 4. Inquisitions post mortem • Sworn enquiries into the lands held at their deaths by direct tenants of the crown (tenants-in-chief) • Survive from about 1236 to 1660 (when feudal tenures were abolished) in more-or-less continuous series at the National Archives • Usually created by escheator • Designed to record and enforce royal feudal rights, especially • Wardship, when a tenant died and their heir was not of full legal age • Primer seisin and relief, when an heir was of full age • Related documents: • Proofs of age • Assignments of dower
    5. 5. Inquisitions post mortem • Most contain information on: • What lands and tenements the tenant held • The nature of the tenant’s legal interest or estate • Of whom the lands were held and by what feudal services • What they were worth • Sometimes a single valuation, sometimes a detailed itemization or extent • When the tenant died (systematically recorded only from 1342 onwards); the identity of their heir; and the heir’s age • Names of the jurors who were present • Many also describe • Grants of land made by or to the tenant
    6. 6. Publication history • Calendars (CIPMs), i.e. translation-cum-summary • Four stages: 1. 1898 to 1955, covering period 1485 – 1509 (Henry VII) 2. 1904 to 1988, covering period 1236 – 1399 (Henry III – Richard II) 3. 1987 to 2002, covering period 1399 – 1422 (Henry IV and V) 4. 2003 to 2010, covering period 1422 – 1447 (Henry VI, part) • 1447-85 and 1509 onwards still unpublished (except for some local history society publications) • Various omissions in stages 1-3 and changes of editorial policy over 1-4
    7. 7. Extents and valuations Jurors Modernized dates, places 1236-1399 No No No 1399-1422 Yes No Yes 1422-1447 Yes Yes Yes 1485-1509 Valuations but not extents No No
    8. 8. Historical value: very varied
    9. 9. Historical value: core elements • Descent of manors and property: county histories from 16th cent. to Victoria County History; • Landed society (aristocracy and gentry): estates; wealth; marriages and marriage settlements; attitudes to inheritance and family; changes and social mobility • Economic and agrarian history: size and composition of estates; relative importance of arable/meadow/rents etc./ regional variation and changes over time; landscape and settlement history • Demography: life-expectancy; seasonality of mortality; fertility and replacement rates • Government: changing nature and enforcement of royal rights; interaction of central and local systems; manipulation of the system; role of the jurors
    10. 10. Historical value: reliability • ‘extremely unreliable’ • ‘notoriously unreliable’ • ‘too unreliable to be of any value’ • Reasons for these judgements?
    11. 11. Historical value: reliability • ‘the single best source for reconstructing both the institutional and economic geography of the country’ • ‘the single greatest available compendium of information on the unit value of land’ • ‘no other contemporary source is as informative’ [on common rights] • ‘the single most useful source for analysing the scale, nature, and value of seigneorial milling’ • Reasons for these judgements?
    12. 12. Historical value: reliability • Impossible to take a black-and-white approach • Mapping and statistical analysis can reveal a great deal about the limitations and idiosyncrasies of the IPMs • Barns in Hampshire • Customary acres • Mapping and statistical analysis at a large enough scale may also be able to compensate for some of these limitations and idiosyncrasies
    13. 13. Mapping the Medieval Countryside • Grew out of the most recent bout of publication, 2003-10 • Original objective to continue calendaring 1447 onwards • Calendaring in print form unsatisfactory: • Audience: academic or wider local/family history, genealogy? • Access • Expense of the more recent volumes • Scarcity of the older volumes • Need for a full series to answer many research questions • Analysis • Rich information but often very laborious to extract from printed calendars • Limitations of the indexes: persons, places, and subjects
    14. 14. • An initial solution: digitization • Not the original documents: condition, size etc. • Volumes 1-20 (1236-1399) and 2nd series 1-3 (1485-1509) • Rekeyed and mounted on the project website and British History Online essentially as plain text • Volumes 1-2 available • Limited functionality, not always easy to search for persons / places due to variant spellings • A long-term solution: full electronic calendaring • Volumes 18-26 (1399-1447), i.e. those containing valuations and extents • Fully indexed using TEI XML markup • Rich functionality • A model: England on the Eve of the Black Death
    15. 15. • Database of manorial extents 1300-49 • Statistical analysis • GIS mapping • Pioneered large-scale analysis of IPMs as key evidence for economic and agrarian change
    16. 16. New light on the precision and reliability of IPMs
    17. 17. New light on the value of seigniorial resources
    18. 18. New light on the distribution of landscape features and seigneurial resources
    19. 19. New light on the absolute value of land items
    20. 20. New light on the relative value of land items
    21. 21. Our project… • By 1399 the material is not as rich (decline of demesne farming), but a similar approach is feasible • c. 7000 documents, c.15000 holdings, c. 2500 manorial extents 1399-1447 • Capture agrarian information from all IPMs, not just manorial extents • Capture other information as well • Tenants’ estates in land • Grants and enfeoffments: spread of entail and use • Tenures and services • Dates of death and heirs • Administrative information (dates, types of writ, jurors – enhancement of volumes 18-21 for 1399-1422)
    22. 22. • Agrarian changes (e.g. the shift from arable to pasture) • Demography, inheritance, succession • The ‘feudal system’ • Local and central government
    23. 23. Findings…? • Data entry, analysis, and development of interface ongoing • What follows is subject to revision – intended to illustrate the possibilities of the resource
    24. 24. Estates in land Estates in land, 1432-7 (by number of holdings, all holdings) Estates in land, 1432-7 (manors only)
    25. 25. Agrarian history Frequency distribution: value of meadow per acre, d., 1427-32 n=148 mean=14.4
    26. 26. Frequency distribution: acreages of meadow, 1427-32 Mean: 16
    27. 27. Frequency distribution: value of manor courts, 1427-32, in pence n=52 mean=113.7 (0.47£)
    28. 28. Demography Mortality of tenants in chief, numbers/year, 1418-1446
    29. 29. Demography • Possible explanations: • Actual variations in mortality for various reasons (disease, famine, war, etc.) • Variations in the efficiency of the IPM process (possible that more tenants-in-chief were identified at some times due e.g. to ‘fiscal feudalism’) • Outbreaks of plague/disease known from chronicles etc. 1420, 1427, 1433-4, 1438-9
    30. 30. Deaths/month, 1420
    31. 31. ‘Shown to the jurors’: evidence for literacy? References to documents “shown/presented (etc.) to the jurors”, CIPM vols. 1-21 and 2nd ser. 1-3, by volume
    32. 32. • Possible explanations: • Changing practice at inquisitions (more documents were being shown to jurors, which may imply more jurors being able to read / understand them) • Changing documentary conventions (documents had been shown to jurors before, but this practice was not commonly noted in the IPMs before 1400 or after 1485. Such a change might still have implications for jurors’ literacy) • Changing calendaring practices (the IPMs do in fact refer to documents being shown to the jurors, but the editors of some calendars did not consider this important enough to include)
    33. 33. @MedievalIPM www.inquisitionspostmortem.ac.uk