these women may have been defining moments of their lives or points of crisis, but most
of the cases and actions included here were more quotidian, representing the inordinate
negotiations that made up everydaylife and work. The negotiation of justice was therefore a
normal part of urban life. Women and men living within England’s hundreds of medieval
towns actively used their local courts to manage their interpersonal relationships, enforce
business obligations and seek restitution for attacks that brought harm to their persons
the nature of late medieval urban justice, the focus here is not on the
institutions that delivered this justice but on the individuals (specifically the women) who
engaged with and were subject to the mechanisms and customs of local justice in the course of
their everyday lives. The urban records therefore serve to expand our view of women’s
legal experiences to incorporate the many ways that they engaged with the law in everydaylife.
There is much to learn about the lives of ordinary women from the court
(eds), Imagining the Books: Medieval Texts and Cultures of Northern Europe
(Turnhout: Brepols, 2005), pp. 1–14, pp. 1–2.
Salter, Popular reading in English.indd 233
234 Popular reading in English c. 1400–1600
19 For a very useful discussion of the complex relationships between technology,
invention, and changes in practice see F. Braudel, The Structure of EverydayLife: The Limits of the Possible, Civilization and Capitalism 15th–18th
Century (London: Collins, 1981), pp. 334–5. Braudel explains that technological development is never
, they are significant for their broad jurisdiction and the
fact that they may have offered the most frequent interaction with the law for many, if not a
majority, of the residents of England’s towns. They dealt with disputes and issues that
arose from everydaylife and trade, rather than exceptional acts of crime or high-value
financial disputes. It is this ‘ordinariness’ that makes these courts notable.
Despite a wealth of records, urban court records remain relatively underused, and there is no
existing overview of the
Hincmar, the polyptych of St-Rémi and the slaves of Courtisols
, could distinguish the two conditions in everydaylife. 53
There may have been another source of worry for Hincmar: it is not impossible that the ‘repressed’ mancipia had benefited from the tacit complicity of their neighbours. For, of the free co-tenants of the repressed mancipia named in the description of the estate, none witnessed or took part in either the judgment of May 847 or the repressio that followed, abstaining whether from ignorance, indifference, caution or sympathy. 54 This apparent village apathy was perhaps a form of
Kevin Lynch, I am not convinced
from Lynch’s usage that he was the first to use it. Lynch defines wayfinding as ‘a consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues
from the external environment’: The Image of the City (Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press, 1960), p. 3.
4 The history of the medieval quotidian is relatively unmapped. But
Antonia Gransden discusses ‘the trivialities of everydaylife’ in her
‘Realistic observation in twelfth-century England’, Speculum, 47:1
(1972), 29–51 (30). See also D. Vance Smith, Arts of Possession: The
Middle English Household
may accompany the loss
of estates and property. While the avoidance of the seven deadly
sins is a topos, the fear of shame and debt are close to everydaylife.
What is more, they imply an interpersonal dimension less abstract
than the damage inflicted on others by committing the sin of pride,
avarice, or gluttony. And yet, aligning them with deadly sin underscores their detrimental impact. The final coda thus is more than
a quaint individual stamp the poet puts on many of the legends: it
subtly reminds the audience of communal values that should be
kept and suggests
Time, space, and the Scottishness of the Scottish Legendary
Eva von Contzen
or place of his or her life can be especially
powerful when the location is close to the audience’s home and
their everydaylife. The South English Legendary, as already mentioned, takes advantage of this and establishes strong links between
its English origin and the Englishness of many of its saints. The
Scottish compilation, however, is different: it refrains from the
overt promotion of ‘Scottishness’ and a sense of national coherence. Rhiannon Purdie reminds us that Scottishness is more than
Time, space and Scottishness
an individual author’s ‘quirks
discussion on the matter.
47 Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism 15th–18th Century,
vol. 1: The Structures of EverydayLife: The Limits of the Possible, trans.
Siân Reynolds (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), pp. 491–520 (p. 511).
48 Lorraine Attreed, ‘Urban identity in medieval English towns’, Journal
of Interdisciplinary History, 32:4 (2002), 571–92 (585–90). Sarah Rees
Jones, ‘York’s civic administration, 1354–1464’, in Sarah Rees Jones
(ed.), The Government of Medieval York: Essays in Commemoration of the
1396 Royal Charter, Borthwick Studies in
them. These tensions show that the history of the Carolingian parish cannot be confined to a point of origin of something pristine that would later be corrupted, or of something primitive that would be later perfected: it was a messy, and sometimes controversial, part of everydaylife in northern Francia ‘already’ in the ninth century.
More than that, though, what these tensions also reveal is the centrality of the parish to the Carolingian Church. For Hincmar, at least, the parish was not merely an aspect of his pastoral duties, it was a