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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Staff and Governance

To contact the IMEMS administrative office please use the following details:

For the Administrator (maternity cover)

E: manager.imems@durham.ac.uk

T: 0191 334 6574

For the Administrative Assistant

E: admin.imems@durham.ac.uk

T: 0191 334 42974

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details

Brown, A. T. & Bowen, James P. (2016). Custom and Commercialisation in English Rural Society, 1300-1800: Revisiting Postan and Tawney. University of Hertfordshire Press.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

English rural society underwent fundamental changes between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries with urbanisation, commercialisation and industrialisation producing new challenges and opportunities for inhabitants of rural communities. However, our understanding of this period has been shaped by the compartmentalisation of history into medieval and early-modern specialisms and by the debates surrounding the transition from feudalism to capitalism and landlord-tenant relations. Inspired by the classic works of Tawney and Postan, this collection of essays examines their relevance to historians today, distinguishing between their contrasting approaches to the pre-industrial economy and exploring the development of agriculture and rural industry; changes in land and property rights; and competition over resources in the English countryside. These case studies further highlight the regional diversity of medieval and early-modern England by focusing on the mixed economies of south-western, western and northern England, and the role of coastal and urban communities within the rural economy.

Custom was a contested set of rules based upon historical precedent which governed the behaviour of village communities, and a key theme of Tawney's Agrarian Problem was the 'struggle between custom and competition'. This collection of essays reconsiders the role of custom in medieval and early-modern England by arguing that it often facilitated the commercialisation of rural society in this period rather than hindering it. The book has an intentionally broad chronological span, ranging from the thirteenth century through to the eighteenth, exploring the interactions between custom and commercialisation during a key period in the economic development of English rural society.

The contributors include: James P. Bowen, John Broad, A.T. Brown, Christopher Dyer, John Gaisford, Tom Johnson, David Rollison, Simon Sandall, Alexandra Sapoznik, William D. Shannon, Sheila Sweetinburgh, and Andy Wood.


Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:


International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: