Peasants and historians

Debating the medieval English peasantry

By Phillipp Schofield

Peasants and historians


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-5378-8
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £19.99
  • Published Date: September 2016
  • BIC Category: United Kingdom, Great Britain, Humanities / Medieval history, History & Archaeology, European history: medieval period, middle ages, European history, CE period up to c 1500, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Medieval History, History, HISTORY / Medieval, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Studies


Peasants and historians is an examination of historical discussion of the medieval English peasantry. In this book, the first such study of its kind, the author traces the development of historical research aimed at exploring the nature of peasant society. In separate chapters, the author examines the three main defining themes which have been applied to the medieval economy in general including change affecting the medieval peasantry. In subsequent chapters debates in relation to demography, family structure, women in rural society, and the nature of village community are each considered in turn. A final chapter on peasant culture also suggests areas of development and, potentially at least, future directions in research and writing. Offering an informed grounding in the main areas of historical writing in this area, it will be of interest to researchers as well as to those coming new to the topic, including undergraduate and postgraduate students.


'Practitioners of peasant history will benefit from the guides to bibliography and analysis of past ideas and present preoccupations, while newcomers are given a useful guide to the state of the subject. Those familiar with the peasant world will find well-known subjects presented from a new perspective.'
Christopher Dyer, University of Leicester, Agricultural History


1. Early contributions
Part I: Themes
2. Population, resources and the medieval English peasantry
3. Lords and peasants
4. Peasants and markets
Part II: Debates
5. Demography and the medieval peasantry
6. Family, household and gender
7. The village community and the nature of peasant society in medieval England
8. Peasant culture


Phillipp R. Schofield is Professor in Medieval History at Aberystwyth University

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