By G. E. Mingay
Strains the increase and fall of rural England from the center a long time to the second one global warfare and the character of the alterations that have happened.
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Extra resources for A Social History of the English Countryside
At the lower levels of landownership there was possibly more direct farming by gentry landlords in the fifteenth century than has sometimes been supposed. At this time, too, the destruction of many of the old feudal nobles in the Wars of the Roses led to the establishment of the Tudors as a more stable monarchy, one that was able to curb and diminish the powers of the surviving magnates. Under the influence of a strong monarch the king’s council became an instrument for keeping the nobles in their place, suppressing their numerous bands of liveried retainers, and crushing their penchant for intimidation and violence.
Dovehouses, some having as many as 600 holes, were established by early in the following century, while many lords kept peacocks, partly as a dish for festivals and partly for the brilliant feathers. 9 Fish also formed an important element of the medieval diet, brought fresh from the coast to places a few miles inland, while dried herrings were transported greater distances. Manorial lords established and stocked large ponds near the house for a ready supply of freshwater fish, and the rivers were exploited for further quantities.
In the fifteenth century those of greater wealth draped their walls with costly tapestries and Eastern embroideries. Vessels of gold and silver were displayed on the tables of the hall or on the cupboard, a term later applied to the chest in which the plate was locked away when not in use. By this time pewter tableware was replacing the wooden platters and ‘trenchers’, thick slices of bread on which meat was served. 26 From Tudor times onwards the space taken by the hall was commonly divided into two or three storeys.
A Social History of the English Countryside by G. E. Mingay