join us on facebook likeyoulove
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Family and Household in Medieval England by Peter Fleming

Family and Household in Medieval England

Part of the Social History in Perspective Series


Family and Household in Medieval England by Peter Fleming

Drawing upon a wide range of historical research, Family and Household in Medieval England offers a stimulating and engaging introduction to the formative period of one of the central institutions of western society. The family and household together provided the basic unit of social organisation in the Middle Ages, and this period saw the emergence of many aspects of modern life, not least the marriage service and its attendant ceremonies. The family was one of the few experiences or institutions common to every rank of medieval society, from princes to peasants. The centrality of this theme is reflected in the breadth of topics considered here, which embrace demography, the law, theology and popular belief, property-holding, employment, and, of course, love and emotional relationships. These areas are explored in a clear and accessible manner. After discussing the family in the religious and legal traditions from the late classical and barbarian periods to the Middle ages, the book adopts a 'life-cycle' approach to the history of the medieval English family, beginning with courtship and marriage, encompassing childbirth and the parent-child relationship along the way, through to the dissolution of marriage, either by death or separation, and ending with a discussion of widowhood, wardship and retirement. The text is illuminated with examples from the experiences of people from all levels of medieval soicety, reflecting the diversity of family life in this period. The history of the family touches upon the most intimate areas of life, and Fleming never forgets that it is real people, who possessed complex emotions, sensibilities and private lives, who form the heart of this study.


'This is a lucid and concise handbook on marriage, family law, and local custom in medieval England, 1066-1520. Peter Fleming's survey draws on church law, modern demographic statistics, and evidence from contemporary records and court proceedings, and covers a wide social range from the aristocracy to the urban and rural poor. The argument is balanced, refreshingly free from jargon, and well supplied with suggestions for further reading.' - Rosalind Field, Medieval Studies '...this is an extremely useful contribution to the study of the family and household.' - Albion 'Deserves to take a prominent place on the reading lists...elegantly written, very readable, concise, yet packed with information.' - Speculum'

About the Author

PETER FLEMING is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of the West of England.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

6th December 2000


Peter Fleming

More books by Peter Fleming
Author 'Like for Like'


Palgrave Macmillan


172 pages


Social & cultural history
Sociology: family & relationships



Why I love @lovereadinguk? It's in the name - as dedicated lovers of reading, they are perfect matchmakers for helping me find my next read!

Catherine Jenkins

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

Thanks to Lovereading I have discovered new writers and read books I would never had looked twice at - and enjoyed them.

Angela Rhodes

A great place to go to find your next literary escape, and where you don't have to judge a book by its cover!

Suzanne Beney

I love Lovereading because of its ability to connect people that love books & unite them in a friendly, stimulating & interesting community.

Megan Olwen William

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

Lovereading does a stella job in promoting both new and established authors.

Iris Clements