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7 Kinship, poor relief and the welfare process in early modern England Sam Barrett The poor in England Kinship, poor relief and the welfare process Overview – the ‘problem’ of kinship Historiographical writing on the depth and functionality of kinship in early modern England is limited. It is also contradictory. On the extent and depth of kinship networks, for instance, early commentators such as Peter Laslett were clear that English households tended to be relatively small and simple and that, because of demographic constraint (migration, ‘background

in The poor in England 1700–1850
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Oral culture in Britain 1500–1850
Editors: Adam Fox and Daniel Woolf

Human beings have developed a superabundance of ways of communicating with each other. Some, such as writing, are several millennia old. This book focuses on the relationship between speech and writing both within a single language, Welsh, and between two languages, Welsh and English. It demonstrates that the eighteenth-century Scottish clergy used the popular medium of Gaelic in oral and written form to advance the Gospel. The experience of literacy in early modern Wales was often an expression of legal and religious authority reinforced by the spoken word. This included the hearing of proclamations and other black-letter texts publicly read. Literate Protestant clergymen governed and shaped the Gaelic culture by acting as the bridge-builders between oral and literary traditions, and as arbiters of literary taste and the providers of reading material for newly literate people. The book also offers some illustrations of how anecdotes became social tools which used to make points not only in private correspondence but also in civil conversation in early modern England. Locating vagabonds and minstrels, and other wanderers on the margins of settled society depended on the survival of the appropriate historical record. Cautionary tales of the judgements God visited upon flagrant and incorrigible sinners circulated widely in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England: stories of sabbath-breakers, swearers, drunkards, adulterers and other ungodly livers struck down suddenly by the avenging arm of the Almighty. During the age of Enlightenment, intellectual culture nourished a new understanding of non-literate language and culture.

The trial in history, volume I

This book examines trials, civil and criminal, ecclesiastical and secular, in England and Europe between the thirteenth and the seventeenth centuries. The cases examined range from a fourteenth century cause-célèbre, the attempted trial of Pope Boniface VIII for heresy, to investigations of obscure people for sexual and religious offences in the city states of Geneva and Venice. These are examples of the operation in the past of different legal, judicial systems, applied by differently constituted courts, royal and manorial, secular and ecclesiastical, which adopted different procedures, adversarial and inquisitorial. Ranging from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, the book considers criminal trials and civil litigation conducted in royal, manorial and Church courts in late medieval and early modern England. These trials concentrate on the structure, jurisdiction, functions, and procedures of the courts and on the roles of the judges of fact and of law, both amateur and professional, who composed them. The trials of Giorgio Moreto and of Laura Querini were influenced by the politics of the Venetian State and its ongoing and highly charged relationship with the power of the Church. Discussing the legal history of continental Europe, the book then shifts the emphasis from the judges and jurors to the prisoners arraigned before the courts, to the victims of prosecution or to the highly questionable images of them created by their enemies.

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Conversations about the past in Restoration and eighteenth-century England

which history continued to be spoken aloud, in various social contexts, in early modern England. With occasional backward glances toward the Renaissance, the focus is on the period from the Restoration to the late eighteenth century, the era when the printed history book (and its narrative rival, the novel) made their greatest inroads into the book-selling market. I do not attempt to deal with every type of oral discussion of the past. The matter of ‘oral residue’ in Renaissance prose has been explored adequately by Father Walter J. Ong, and in another essay I have

in The spoken word
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, ranging from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, consider criminal trials and civil litigation conducted in royal, manorial and Church courts in late medieval and early modern England. They concentrate on the structure, jurisdiction, functions, and procedures of the courts and on the roles of the judges of fact and of law, both amateur and professional, who composed them. By way of contrast, chapters 6 to 9, on the legal history of continental Europe, shift the emphasis from the judges and jurors to the prisoners arraigned before the courts, to the victims of

in Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200–1700
An economy of makeshifts

This book investigates the experience of English poverty between 1700 and 1900 and the ways in which the poor made ends meet. It represents the single most significant attempt in print to supply the English 'economy of makeshifts' with a solid, empirical basis and to advance the concept of makeshifts to a precise delineation. The book attempts to explain how and when the poor secured access to these makeshifts and suggest how the balance of these strategies might change over time or be modified by gender, life-cycle and geography. It begins with the general and particular ways in which 'makeshifts' might be constructed, examining the rural agricultural poor and the shifting hierarchy of 'Fuel, dole and bread'. The book confirms the paltry allowances awarded through the poor law and implicitly contrasts them with the relatively generous schemes operated by individual and institutionalised charities such as the Quakers in Lancashire rural communities. Voluntary charity in the makeshift economy is discussed in the context of cultural implications of incorporating charity within survival strategies. The book then tackles the complicated relationship between poverty and social crime by looking at both contemporary published opinion and the evidence of the courts. A survey of pamphlet literature touching on credit, debt and pawnbroking reveals that outspoken, damning criticisms of pawnbrokers were often repeated but rarely qualified by any consideration of the cash flow exigencies of poverty. Finally a micro-study of the Lancashire township of Cowpe illustrates both the quantity and complexity of the makeshift economy.

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Common right, parish relief and endowed charity in a forest economy, c. 1600–1800

legitimate collection of materials. ‘Without such regulations’, he insists, ‘many of the commons and wastes of early modern England would have been quickly denuded.’ 28 The effect of these regulations, however, remains ambiguous. On the one hand, Neeson suggests that communal regulation favoured poorer rather than more affluent commoners. The management of waste fostered a fundamental social cohesion based on the ideology of custom, in which, she insists, ‘the defence of common rights required the protection of lesser rights as well as greater’.29 On the other, regulation

in The poor in England 1700–1850
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Cautionary tales and oral tradition in early modern England

6 Chapter 6 The spoken word Reformed folklore? Reformed folklore? Cautionary tales and oral tradition in early modern England Alexandra Walsham P rotestantism and print have often been presented as inherently hostile to oral tradition. Historians have credited both with a leading role in marginalizing, fossilizing, and ultimately suffocating the vernacular culture of late medieval England. Still widely regarded as a movement whose success depended upon the spread of literacy and the advent of the press, the Reformation is commonly associated with attempts to

in The spoken word
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Speaking pictures?

Alexander’s failure to draw is illustrative of the depiction of visual representations in many early modern English plays; the unsuccessful process of image-making is on display at least as much as is the image itself, which remains notably incomplete. In early modern England, ‘display’ could mean to ‘unfold’ or ‘expose to view’, but from the late sixteenth century this term also indicated verbal revelation

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama
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distinct from the senses in which sixteenth- and seventeenthcentury English people used those terms, as well as from the senses in which the word might be understood in the present. The situation is further complicated by the variety of different understandings of what defined witchcraft in early modern England. Accusations of witchcraft tended to focus on the issue of maleficium – the harm it caused – while theoretical writings on witchcraft were usually more interested in the witches’ supposed pact with the devil. Magical power might be conceived of as inherent in the

in Scepticism and belief in English witchcraft drama, 1538–1681