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Occupying Space in Medieval and Early Modern Britain and Ireland

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Edited By Gregory Hulsman and Caoimhe Whelan

This collection offers a range of interdisciplinary viewpoints on the occupation of space and theories of place in Britain and Ireland throughout the medieval and early modern periods. It considers space in both its physical and abstract sense, exploring literature, history, art, manuscript studies, religion, geography and archaeology. The buildings and ruins still occupying our urban and rural spaces bridge the gap between the medieval and the modern; manuscripts and objects hold keys to unlocking the secrets of the past. Focusing on the varied uses of space enriches our understanding of the material culture of the medieval and early modern period. The essays collected here offer astute observations on this theme and generate new insights into areas such as social interaction, cultural memory, sacred space and ideas of time and community.
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Welcome to the Occupation: Patterns in the Management of the Fourteenth-Century English Landscape (Duncan L. Berryman)

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← 144 | 145 →DUNCAN L. BERRYMAN

Welcome to the Occupation: Patterns in the Management of the Fourteenth-Century English Landscape

When the Black Death struck England in the fourteenth century, almost 300 years had passed since the Norman invasion and occupation of the English landscape.1 Norman feudalism had replaced Anglo-Saxon feudal structures and manors had been created in place of Anglo-Saxon estates. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries had experienced a near continuous population growth, which increased pressure on the land, resulting in an expansion of agriculture to higher altitudes and of the area of land occupied by villages. Direct occupation of the demesne land by lords became more common by the end of the thirteenth century and was the norm throughout the fourteenth century. A study of the fourteenth-century landscape is predominantly focused on the management of this direct occupation and the lord’s control of his manors. This chapter will consider a number of examples of manors from across England during the fourteenth century. It will use manorial accounts to investigate the investment in manorial ← 145 | 146 →buildings, indicating how the lord chose to invest in and manage the manor during the fourteenth century.

Many archaeologists turn to theoretical constructs to examine the use of buildings in the past. One of the most common is the theory of habitus. To understand this theory in an archaeological context, we must trace its development and use in this field. Pierre Bourdieu developed this concept in the late 1970s...

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