Farming, Famine and Plague

The Impact of Climate in Late Medieval England

Authors: Pribyl, Kathleen

  • Provides insight into medieval environmental, agricultural, and economic historyInvestigates the climatic background, agricultural vulnerability and the relationship between extreme weather, famine and plagueHighlights how a medieval failed grain harvest was a decisive factor in the genesis of subsistence crisis

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eBook £100.50
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-55953-7
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £126.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-55952-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book is situated at the cross-roads of environmental, agricultural and economic history and climate science. It investigates the climatic background for the two most significant risk factors for life in the crisis-prone England of the Later Middle Ages: subsistence crisis and plague. Based on documentary data from eastern England, the late medieval growing season temperature is reconstructed and the late summer precipitation of that period indexed. Using these data, and drawing together various other regional (proxy) data and a wide variety of contemporary documentary sources, the impact of climatic variability and extremes on agriculture, society and health are assessed. Vulnerability and resilience changed over time: before the population loss in the Great Pestilence in the mid-fourteenth century meteorological factors contributing to subsistence crises were the main threat to the English people, after the arrival of Yersinia pestis it was the weather conditions that faciliated the formation of recurrent major plague outbreaks.

Agriculture and harvest success in late medieval England were inextricably linked to both short term weather extremes and longer term climatic fluctuations. In this respect the climatic transition period in the Late Middle Ages (c. 1250-1450) is particularly important since the broadly favourable conditions for grain cultivation during the Medieval Climate Optimum gave way to the Little Ice Age, when agriculture was faced with many more challenges; the fourteenth century in particular was marked by high levels of climatic variability.

About the authors

Kathleen Pribyl is an associate fellow at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK. She has a background in medieval and environmental history and holds a PhD from the University in Bern, Switzerland, for which she received the Eduard Adolf Stein Award 2012.  Her interests lie in environmental, economic and agricultural history and in particular in the vulnerability of pre-industrial societies to environmental risk.

Table of contents (11 chapters)

  • The Historical Climatology of Late Medieval England

    Pribyl, Kathleen

    Pages 1-7

  • The Keeping of Agricultural Records in Late Medieval England

    Pribyl, Kathleen

    Pages 9-40

  • The Medieval Grain Harvest

    Pribyl, Kathleen

    Pages 41-64

  • Farming in Norfolk Around 1800

    Pribyl, Kathleen

    Pages 65-75

  • A Reconstruction of Medieval April–July Temperatures for East Anglia

    Pribyl, Kathleen

    Pages 77-93

Buy this book

eBook £100.50
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-55953-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £126.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-55952-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Farming, Famine and Plague
Book Subtitle
The Impact of Climate in Late Medieval England
Authors
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-55953-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-55953-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-55952-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 307
Number of Illustrations and Tables
11 b/w illustrations, 30 illustrations in colour
Topics