Dearth, debt and the local land market in a late thirteenth century Suffolk village

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The main focus of this paper is the response of the peasantry to harvest failure in the Suffolk manor of Hinderclay in the late thirteenth century. Using manorial court rolls and ministers' account rolls, as well as the I283 lay subsidy assessment, annual fluctuations in the transfer of land are compared with local, regional, and national grain price movements. The working assumption that land transfers increased as grain prices rose and that this reflected a rush to the market by sellers, desperate to exchange land for cash and goods, has been tested by searching the court rolls for possible 'motive'. As a result, the crisis sales have been set within the context of the withdrawal of credit in years of bad harvest; in particular, the possibility that excessive taxation in the I29OS caused creditors to withdraw their loans and invest in land is mooted. Withdrawal of credit from poorer villagers, especially in the last decade of the thirteenth century, meant that an added effect of taxation was to remove the support of credit at a time when it may have been most needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAgricultural History Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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