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Life in a Medieval Village

by Frances Gies, Joseph Gies (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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983915,922 (3.69)43
The reissue of Joseph and Frances Gies's classic bestseller on life in medieval villages. This new reissue of Life in a Medieval Village, by respected historians Joseph and Frances Gies, paints a lively, convincing portrait of rural people at work and at play in the Middle Ages. Focusing on the village of Elton, in the English East Midlands, the Gieses detail the agricultural advances that made communal living possible, explain what domestic life was like for serf and lord alike, and describe the central role of the church in maintaining social harmony. Though the main focus is on Elton, c. 1300, the Gieses supply enlightening historical context on the origin, development, and decline of the European village, itself an invention of the Middle Ages. Meticulously researched, Life in a Medieval Village is a remarkable account that illustrates the captivating world of the Middle Ages and demonstrates what it was like to live during a fascinating--and often misunderstood--era.… (more)
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» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This book tells of life in the medieval village of Elton, in the Midlands of central England. The authors draw extensively from court records and the Doomsday Book. There is a plethora of trivia contained within, such as how much a certain noble paid for a meal at a certain inn on a certain date and time. I felt I was being fed facts for facts sake. I did learn some new vocabulary such as hamsoken and frankpledge. A lot of the book concerned itself with agriculture and labor and not enough time was spent on the Church and plague and its ramifications, imho. This book is standard reading for college freshmen in Western Civ classes. 272 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Dec 30, 2020 |
Very informative on the subject. ( )
  mwchase | Nov 6, 2018 |
An interesting topic with an engaging narrative and numerous illustrations. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Jul 25, 2018 |
Although I am getting to like these authors more, I confess I did not like this book as much as their other book 'Life in a Medieval Castle' which I read last year.

The main reason was that the first part of the book seemed to me very dull, tedious and rather slow. As a history student I shoud be more used to dry academic writing, but this was not a textbook and I found the dry recounting of facts and figures rather off putting in work of popular history.

Thankfully though, the book becomes a little more lively after the first 60 pages or so and the authors were back on form with thier informative and engaging historical narrative.

The chapters on Law and Order in the village, and 'The Parish' were particularly good, and the latter I especially enjoyed, and also liked the way that it made the subject seem far less complicated.

The only other objection that I had was that some of the attitides and interpretations of the authors did seem a little outdated (or else I simply did not agree with some of them), but since the book was first published in the 1970s this is probably to be expected.

( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
GB/UK/ENGL/England, Cambridgeshire, Elton - History - Medieval period, 1066-1485/England, Cambridgeshire, Elton - Social life and customs - Medieval period, 1066-1485
  SGSLibrary | Sep 6, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gies, FrancesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gies, JosephAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Jaquet, ChristopheTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Prologue: Elton
"In the district of Huntingdon there is a certain village to which far-distant antiquity gave the name of Aethelintone," wrote the twelfth-century monk who chronicled the history of Ramsey Abbey, "on a most beautiful site, provided with a course of waters, in a pleasant plain of meadows with abundant grazing for cattle, and rich in fertile fields."
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The reissue of Joseph and Frances Gies's classic bestseller on life in medieval villages. This new reissue of Life in a Medieval Village, by respected historians Joseph and Frances Gies, paints a lively, convincing portrait of rural people at work and at play in the Middle Ages. Focusing on the village of Elton, in the English East Midlands, the Gieses detail the agricultural advances that made communal living possible, explain what domestic life was like for serf and lord alike, and describe the central role of the church in maintaining social harmony. Though the main focus is on Elton, c. 1300, the Gieses supply enlightening historical context on the origin, development, and decline of the European village, itself an invention of the Middle Ages. Meticulously researched, Life in a Medieval Village is a remarkable account that illustrates the captivating world of the Middle Ages and demonstrates what it was like to live during a fascinating--and often misunderstood--era.

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