Publication – Joe Chick, « Urban Society and Monastic Lordship in Reading, 1350-1600 »

The power of the medieval Church stretched far beyond the religious sphere. Bishops and monasteries held lordship over vast areas of the realm, often wielding political and judicial powers beyond those of secular lords. Early twentieth-century scholarship tended to view towns with monastic lords as highly distinctive, characterised by robust lordship and violent town-abbey relations, and though subsequent studies have done much to modify this view of relationships between towns and their monastic lords, the shadow of this dramatic interpretation still colours our understanding of these situations.

Conversely, through a detailed examination of the governmental, guild, parish, and testamentary records of Reading, one of the more populous monastic towns of the period, this book presents a view of town-abbey relations as largely non-violent, thus problematising the more traditional characterisation and interrogating its universality. Uncovering a remarkably swift transition from monastic lordship to self-government, it illuminates how urban society functioned under two very different regimes, both before and after the dissolution of the monasteries. By combining traditional research methods with Social Network Analysis, the author moves beyond a focus on the political elites and institutionalised bodies, such as the corporation, to look at lower-status members of society and how they interacted with the successive governing authorities. In particular, it investigates what continuities and changes to local governance they experienced during this turbulent period.

Joe Chick is a historian of urban society during the transition from the medieval to the early modern periods. He completed his doctorate at the University of Warwick and has since worked on projects at the Institute of Historical Research and Kings College London.

Table des matières :

1. Setting and Society
2. Political Life
3. Economic Life
4. Religious Life
Conclusions and Outlook

A: Social Network Analysis Datasets and Forms of Analysis
B: Trades Categorised by Status
C: Trades Categorised by Sector


Informations pratiques :

Joe Chick, Urban Society and Monastic Lordship in Reading, 1350-1600, Woodbridge, The Boydell Press, 2022 ; 1 vol., 232 p. ISBN : 978-1-78327-756-8. Prix : GBP 70,00.

Source : Boydell & Brewer

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