Introduction: rural credit

Chris Briggs

in Credit and Village Society in Fourteenth-Century England

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264416
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734342 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Introduction: rural credit

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This book focuses on the credit dealings of medieval Europe. In medieval Europe, manor courts served as private jurisdictions by the landlords which were attended by the peasants to hear and settle their private lawsuits, many of which were concerned about debts. The long lists of manorial court rolls which were predominantly concerned with debt disputes prove the existence of large numbers of credit relationships within the medieval villages of Europe. Yet, despite the abundance of materials and the recent growth in research on this material, no extensive studies have been conducted on medieval credit relationships. This book is the first extensive and detailed investigation of credit in the countryside of medieval Europe. Rural credit is a subject matter that demands closer attention as it gives a glimpse of the function of credit in an agrarian economy. It also sheds light on the socio-economic conditions of the medieval villages which were predominantly battered by poverty. It also has contemporary relevance as it provides insight on the provision of microcredit as a tool for eradicating, if not alleviating, poverty, and for giving gains to those in less developed countries. Addressed in this book are: who were the people, creditors, and debtors involved in the credit relationships of Europe; and why the debts came about. The book also evaluates the changing availability of village credit in various forms, analyses the role of credit in relations between families and individuals, and tackles the terms and conditions attached to credit transactions.

Keywords: credit dealings; medieval Europe; manor courts; debts; debt disputes; credit relationships; medieval credit relationships; rural credit; credit; microcredit

Chapter.  12728 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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