Contrasting Communities: English Villagers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

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More About This Textbook


This book is a detailed history of the economic, educational and religious life of three contrasting communities, Chippenham, Orwell and Willingham in Cambridgeshire from 1525 to 1700. The three villages had very difference economic settings, in which the pattern of landholding changed over this period and the general and particular reasons for the changes that took place. The study also covers the educational opportunities open to the villagers, and examines religious affairs, the effect on peasant communities of the Reformation and the disturbance in the devotional life of the ordinary villager, which often culminated in dissent and disruption under the Commonwealth. Dr Spufford has penetrated into the social life of the English village at all levels, and with fascinating detail has created a whole social universe around her villagers or a 'picture in the round' view. The book will be invaluable to economic, social, and ecclesiastical historians of England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as historians of Britain generally, and those with a special interest in Cambridgeshire.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521297486
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/6/1979
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

List of maps and graphs; List of tables; List of abbreviations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. People, Families and Land: 1. The peopling of a county; 2. The problem: the disappearance of the small landowner; 3. The reality: the small landholder on the chalk: Chippenham; 4. The reality: the small landholder on the clay: Orwell; 5. The reality: the small landholder in the fens: Willingham; Part II. The Schooling of the Peasantry: 6. A general view of schools and schoolmasters; 7. The elementary ability to write: Willingham and Orwell; 8. The importance of reading in the village community; Part III. Parishioners and their Religion: 9. Dissent before and after the commonwealth; 10. A general view of the laity in the diocese of Ely; 11. Fragmentation and the growth of sects; 12. The possible determinants of dissent; 13. The reality of religion for the villager; Conclusion; Appendices; Index of contemporary names; General index.

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