Living and Dying in England: 1100-1540: The Monastic Experience

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This is a fascinating account of daily life in Westminster Abbey, one of medieval England's most important monastic communities. It is also a broad scholarly exploration of some major themes in the social history of the Middle Ages by one of its most distinguished historians. Barbara Harvey exploits the exceptionally rich archives of the Benedictine foundation of Westminster to the full, offering numerous vivid insights into the lives of the Westminster monks, their pensioners, and their patrons. She examines their charitable practices, their food and drink, illness and death, the abbey servants and the institution of corrodies—a key aspect of the abbey's finances. Harvey sets her findings in the context both of other religious institutions and of the secular world. Full of color and interest, Living and Dying in England is a highly readable and authoritative contribution to medieval history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198204312
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Lexile: 1650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Somerville College, Oxford
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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Maps
List of Tables
Introduction 1
I Charity 7
1 Perceptions of Monastic Almsgiving 7
2 Monastic Almsgiving from Ordinary Income 9
3 Monastic Almsgiving from Special Funds 23
II Diet 34
1 The Problems 34
2 The Sample 36
3 Benedictine Diet, Regular and Irregular 33
4 Arrangements at Westminster Abbey 41
III Sickness and its Treatment 72
1 The Empirical Approach 72
2 The Monastic Community at Westminster Abbey 73
3 The Treatment of Sickness at the Abbey 81
4 Morbidity in the Monastic Community at Westminster Abbey 99
5 The Diseases 108
IV Mortality 112
1 The Problems 112
2 Mortality at Christ Church, Canterbury, 1395-1505 114
3 Mortality at Westminster Abbey, 1390-1529 115
4 The Fatal Diseases 129
5 The Population Trend in Late Medieval England 142
V Servants 146
1 Perspectives 146
2 Monastic Households 148
3 Servant Life 154
4 Earnings at Westminster Abbey 163
VI Corrodies 179
1 Perceptions Old and New 179
2 The Main Kinds of Corrody 181
3 Grants in General 184
4 Grants in Exchange for Real Property 192
5 Grants in Exchange for Money 198
6 The Age and Marital Status of Corrodians 207
Epilogue 210
Appendix I Charitable Giving at Westminster Abbey, c.1510-c.1530 214
Appendix II Catering in the Refectory and Misericord at Westminster Abbey C.1495-c.1525: Numbers and Messes 216
Appendix III. Apothecaries, Physicians, and Surgeons Employed by the Abbot and Convent of Westminster, C.1300-1540 231
Appendix IV. Estimating the Life-Expectancy of the Monks of Westminster 236
Appendix V. Corrodians of Westminster Abbey, 1100-1540 239
Bibliography 252
Index 269
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