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Family and Household in Medieval England

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Publisher:

Red Globe Press

Pages: 172
Series:

Social History in Perspective

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Paperback - 9780333610794

06 January 2001

$38.99

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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...

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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.

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The first introduction to the history of the English medieval family and household
Synthesises a wide range of secondary literature, including recent scholarship, in an attractive and accessible way
Uses examples drawn from the author's own research into primary sources
Organises material in terms of the 'lifecycle' of a typical family, from courting and marriage through to widowhood and wardship

Introduction
MARRIAGE MAKING
Marriage in Theory and Law
Age at First Marriage
Coercion and Freedom of Choice
Marriage Strategies
Marriage Settlements
The Ordering of Marriage
FAMILY LIFE
Husbands and Wives
Parents and Children
Family Size
Leaving Home
Servants
Kinship
THE DISSOLUTION OF A MARRIAGE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Annulment and Separation
Widows and Widowers
Wardship
Inheritance
Retirement
Conclusion
Select Bibliography
Index.

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

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

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