Holford   mapping the medieval countryside 2014-06-17
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Holford mapping the medieval countryside 2014-06-17



Digital History seminar

Digital History seminar



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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 Presentation Transcript

  • 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. Inquisitions post mortem
  • 3. The ‘feudal pyramid’
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Historical value: very varied
  • 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. Historical value: reliability • ‘extremely unreliable’ • ‘notoriously unreliable’ • ‘too unreliable to be of any value’ • Reasons for these judgements?
  • 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. 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. 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. • 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. • 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. New light on the precision and reliability of IPMs
  • 17. New light on the value of seigniorial resources
  • 18. New light on the distribution of landscape features and seigneurial resources
  • 19. New light on the absolute value of land items
  • 20. New light on the relative value of land items
  • 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. • Agrarian changes (e.g. the shift from arable to pasture) • Demography, inheritance, succession • The ‘feudal system’ • Local and central government
  • 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. Estates in land Estates in land, 1432-7 (by number of holdings, all holdings) Estates in land, 1432-7 (manors only)
  • 25. Agrarian history Frequency distribution: value of meadow per acre, d., 1427-32 n=148 mean=14.4
  • 26. Frequency distribution: acreages of meadow, 1427-32 Mean: 16
  • 27. Frequency distribution: value of manor courts, 1427-32, in pence n=52 mean=113.7 (0.47£)
  • 28. Demography Mortality of tenants in chief, numbers/year, 1418-1446
  • 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. Deaths/month, 1420
  • 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. • 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. @MedievalIPM www.inquisitionspostmortem.ac.uk