Roads to Impoverishment and Thrift in the Wakefield Court Rolls (13th - 14th Centuries)

"The Wakefield court rolls are so enormous that it is possible to find in them examples of most manorial economic problems.  The following articles appeared in Medieval Yorkshire (Yorkshire Archaeological Society) between 1994 and 2001, and attempt to investigate why some people went up or down in the world and which were the factors which determined the polarisation of fortunes in a society which was never one of equals.  The rolls show peasants rather than lords, knights, clergy or middle-class characters.  These latter seldom appear other than at a distance and as calamities to be suffered.
"It is obvious that among the causes of impoverishment the limitations of the economic system, its rigidities and the obstacles to an equal distribution weakened resistance to natural disasters.  A succession of bad harvests, whether accidental or man-made, was bound to cause famine and increased mortality, as well as many social consequences."


  • Est Panis Famelicis?  Fourteenth-century Hungry Theft in the West Riding.
  • Were Widows Poor?  Pleas of Dower in the Manor of Wakefield 1275-1352.
  • A Peasant Dynasty: The Wakefield Gerbots.
  • How the Baker was Paid.
  • Whose Lot was improved by the Black Death?: The Wakefield Court Rolls 1341-1352.
  • Yorkshire Drinkers.

A5 format   72 pages.


An appendix to "Yorkshire Drinkers" (unpublished, 1994), and notes on ale prices, etc., was deposited with the Yorkshire Archaeological Society Archives.  Ref: MS1585.

  • Author Maria A. Moisa
  • Publisher Flower Press
  • Published In Otley, Yorkshire.
  • Year Published 2004