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North-East England in the Later Middle Ages

North-East England in the Later Middle Ages

Christian D. Liddy
Richard H. Britnell
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    North-East England in the Later Middle Ages
    Book Description:

    The recent surge of interest in the political, ecclesiastical, social and economic history of north-eastern England is reflected in the essays in this volume. The topics covered range widely, including the development of both rural and urban life and institutions. There are contributions on the well-known richness of Durham cathedral muniments, its priory and bishopric, and there is also a particular focus on the institutions and practices which evolved to deal with Scottish border problems. A number of papers broach lesser-known subjects which accordingly offer new territory for exploration, among them the distinctive characteristics of local jurisdiction in the northern counties, the formation of north-eastern landscapes, the course of agrarian development in the region and the emergence of a northern gentry class alongside the better known ecclesiastical and lay magnates. CHRISTIAN D. LIDDY is Lecturer in History at the University of Durham, where R.H. BRITNELL is Emeritus Professor.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-416-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-xi)
    Christian D. Liddy and Richard Britnell
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    So began a manifesto of the Constitutional Convention, the campaign for regional devolution in the north east, in 2000. That campaign has been successful to the degree that a referendum is to be held in 2004 as to whether these same people really want a regional assembly with barely more power than the London Assembly. There already is a regional government office, a regional development agency, a regional museums, libraries and archives council, a regional arts body, a regional Tourist Board (the only one I think to use the word ‘Northumbria’) and even a ‘Unis4Ne’, a consortium of the five...

  8. 1 St Cuthbert and the Border, c. 1080–c.1300
    (pp. 13-28)

    The liquidation of the Cuthbertian interest in Scotland in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries has been analysed in great detail by several historians,¹ and the severe diminution of the value of the properties on the English side of the border in the same period has also been the subject of recent scrutiny.² This essay addresses two questions relating to the evolution of the landed and spiritual interest of St Cuthbert in the border region up to 1300. The first concerns the nature of the properties and rights St Cuthbert possessed in north Northumberland and southern Scotlandc. 1300 and the...

  9. 2 John Hardyng, Northumbrian Identity and the Scots
    (pp. 29-42)

    In life, John Hardyng was clearly a slippery individual. By his own account he was a spy; he was also a forger; and he appears to have been a thief as well.² It is not surprising, then, that his textual legacy as a chronicler is also far from straightforward. Hardyng’sChronicleexists in two versions. The second, shorter one on which Hardyng seems still to have been working when he died, probably in 1464, is relatively well known, although no modern edition of the text has been published.³ The longer first version is known to exist in only one manuscript,...

  10. 3 Remembering the Legal Past: Anglo-Scottish Border Law and Practice in the Later Middle Ages
    (pp. 43-56)

    In October 1371 Henry Percy, warden of the East March, wrote to the chancellor of England requesting the arrest and detention of Sir Hugh Dacre until the latter should find surety for the sum of £ 100 that Percy had paid to the Scottish earl of Douglas ‘to maintain the truce’.² In his letter Percy noted that Dacre had been condemned by ‘a solemn assize of English and Scotsmen’, and that his unwillingness to pay the sum posed a threat to the current truce. In the end, Percy secured a judgment permitting him to levy £ 100 from Dacre’s estates...

  11. 4 Scaling the Ladder: The Rise and Rise of the Grays of Heaton, c. 1296–c.1415
    (pp. 57-74)

    In May 1297 William Wallace got his career as a Scottish patriot off to a good start by killing William de Heselrigg, the English sheriff of Lanark. One of the English casualties of this skirmish was Heselrigg’s fellow Northumbrian, Thomas Gray, stripped and left for dead on the field. Fortunately, he had fallen between two burning houses, put to the flames by Wallace and his men, and the heat kept him alive through the night; in the morning, he was found by English forces, subsequently making a full recovery.² We know all of this, because some sixty years later, in...

  12. 5 Land, Legend and Gentility in the Palatinate of Durham: The Pollards of Pollard Hall
    (pp. 75-96)

    On 22 August 1661 the new bishop of Durham, John Cosin, wrote to William Sancroft, later archbishop of Canterbury, relating details of the warm greeting he had received on his arrival into the bishopric from the south:

    The confluence and alacritie both of the gentry, clergie, and other people was very greate; and at my first entrance through the river of Tease there was scarce any water to be seene for the multitude of horse and men that filled it, when the sword that killed the dragon was delivered to me with all the formality of trumpets and gunshots and...

  13. 6 Local Law Courts in Late Medieval Durham
    (pp. 97-110)

    By the thirteenth century local justice in rural England was embodied primarily in two courts: those of the manor and hundred (or wapentake). The manor court was a seigniorial instrument, regulating the lord’s estate but also providing to the villein tenants a basic forum for civil litigation that otherwise they would be denied. The hundred and wapentake courts were royal or public courts, and the jurisdiction often was described as leet jurisdiction, or the view of frankpledge.¹ Historians have assumed that these same courts functioned across England, with minor variations (and then more in name or shape than actual competence)....

  14. 7 The Free Court of the Priors of Durham
    (pp. 111-118)

    In April 2000 Cynthia J. Neville published an article inHistoryfocusing on the complicated web of courts in the medieval county palatine of Durham. She listed these as the bishop’s halmote court, the priory halmote court, the free court of the prior of Durham, the county court, the borough courts, and local customary courts, three prerogative courts (forest, admiralty and marshalsea), and the court of chancery. ‘All these were in addition to the courts which administered, according to Common Law principles and procedures, the law familiar to and available throughout all medieval England’.¹ This essay examines in detail one...

  15. 8 Church Discipline in Late Medieval Durham City: The Prior as Archdeacon
    (pp. 119-126)

    The prior of Durham claimed the right to exercise archidiaconal jurisdiction over all the churches appropriated to the priory in Durham and Northumberland and by 1435 certainly was using his rights regularly, both to visit and to correct his flock in his court.¹ The object of this essay is to ask a few questions about the exercise of the jurisdiction in the city itself.

    The evidence concerning the archdeacon’s court is very good. There are two court books:Capitula generalia, 1435–56, and the Court Book of the Prior’s Official, 1487–98.² There are also references in the letter-books of...

  16. 9 Economy and Society in North-Eastern Market Towns: Darlington and Northallerton in the Later Middle Ages
    (pp. 127-140)

    The economic history of north-eastern England in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries is characterised by decline, with the region scarcely recovering from the economic and demographic ravages of the Black Death and subsequent outbreaks of plague before being plunged back into long-term recession.² The main urban centres of the region, York and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, suffered considerable dislocation in the fifteenth century and remained in recession until well into the sixteenth.³ A major factor in the decline of York was the contraction of its cloth making industry, largely as a result of increased competition from the textile towns of the West...

  17. 10 Newcastle Trade and Durham Priory, 1460–1520
    (pp. 141-152)

    This essay uses the expenditure recorded in the Durham Priory obedientiary accounts to shed some light on regional trade in the north east in the late medieval period. Using the accounts of a substantial local consumer to investigate the extent and structure of trade in the area of Durham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne provides a fresh perspective on these issues. The evidence available for the history of medieval Newcastle in particular is notoriously limited, with only a handful of municipal records having survived from before the sixteenth century. Despite this limitation, a substantial body of work has been built up by the...

  18. 11 The Size and Shape of Durham’s Monastic Community, 1274–1539
    (pp. 153-172)
    A.J. PIPER

    The fourteenth century dawned ominously for the Durham monks. In the summer of 1297 war broke out between England and Scotland, but, as relations between the two kingdoms had been strained before, the monks had no reason to anticipate that this marked the outbreak of recurrent conflict which would eventually lead to the complete loss of their valuable possessions in south-east Scotland in the fifteenth century.¹ Similarly, their experience of disputes with successive bishops would not have made them appreciate just how costly was to be the one with Bishop Bek that ignited on 20 May 1300.² Yet these were...

  19. 12 Peasants, Landlords and Production between the Tyne and the Tees, 1349–1450
    (pp. 173-196)

    Historians of economic and social change in the Middle Ages have developed explanatory frameworks spanning several centuries. These models depend on the gradually altering balance between the number of consumers and the resources available to meet their demands or the slow tightening and loosening of landlords’ ties over the peasantry.¹ The problem with such long-term analysis is that the available evidence comes from much more limited time periods. For the agrarian economy, series of manorial accounts or court rolls are usually patchy and at best stretch for a few decades. The problem is particularly acute for the agrarian history of...

  20. 13 Wastes, the Margins and the Abandonment of Land: The Bishop of Durham’s Estate, 1350–1480
    (pp. 197-220)

    The period from the Black Death to the later fifteenth century has presented many problems for social and economic historians. For M.M. Postan it was ‘an age of recession, arrested economic development and declining national income’.² But for others such as A.R. Bridbury the period was not at all this world of economic gloom. Certain groups did suffer, but for Bridbury this was a period of ‘fundamental buoyancy and resilience’.³ Such extreme and contradictory views are no longer accepted. A whole plethora of work, recently summarised by John Hatcher, has suggested that the period should in fact be seen as...

  21. 14 Framing Medieval Landscapes: Region and Place in County Durham
    (pp. 221-238)

    All history involves the creation of viable balances between detail, seen for instance in the minutiae of an individual land charter — the legitimate subject of a single learned paper by a historian —¹ and the broader sweeps of regional and national contexts. To create the latter, broad brush representations necessarily replace the finely grained textures. This contrast is to be seen in the antithesis between the Spanish fighting bull, all rush and testosterone, found in a few strokes from Picasso, and the meticulous and bejewelled detail of an artist such as van Eyck. In art, and history, there is a...

  22. Index
    (pp. 239-250)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 251-251)