Desolation of a City: Coventry and the Urban Crisis of the Late Middle Ages

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Cambridge University Press, 27 iun. 2002 - 376 pagini
This book is a contribution to both national and local history. Coventry is taken as a richly documented case-study of the crisis which marked the end of the medieval period for many substantial towns. Its demographic and economic decline is followed from the fifteenth century to a dramatic period of short-term crisis between 1518 and 1525. Attention is then focused on the traditional structure of the community: the life-cycles of the citizens are related to the intricate pattern of social positions within a multi-dimensional survey. The author illustrates how the occupants of this structure were depleted by crisis and decline, through devastating depopulation, the attrition of the male labour-force, and the failure of the population to reproduce itself. The results included an uncontrolled insurrectionary riot, the emergence of a radical programme for reform along very early 'Commonwealth' lines in the 1530s and, ultimately, the erosion of the old communal organisation and its ideals.

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