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Family and Household in Medieval England

by Peter Fleming

Part of the Social History in Perspective Series

Family and Household in Medieval England Synopsis

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.

Family and Household in Medieval England Press Reviews

'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

Book Information

ISBN: 9780333610794
Publication date: 6th December 2000
Author: Peter Fleming
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 172 pages
Categories: Social & cultural history, Sociology: family & relationships,

About Peter Fleming

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

More About Peter Fleming

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