Bernhard Zeller, Charles West, Francesca Tinti, Marco Stoffella, Nicolas Schroeder, Carine van Rhijn, Steffen Patzold, Thomas Kohl, Wendy Davies, and Miriam Czock
distinct units within a settlement is important from the point of view of social history, as written evidence suggests that the household – a nuclear family, occasionally with further family members or ancillaries, associated with a homestead, land and rights to use resources – was the basic building block of early medieval rural societies.
The units belonging to a single farmstead could be organised in many different ways. An early medieval rural settlement at Pacé, in Brittany, provides a nice example of the internal articulation of a farmstead. 9 The site was
genocidal holocaust (the Crusades) and the threat of an
apocalypse (the Black Death), analogous perhaps to Bergman’s own
situation in 1957 between World War II and the prospect of
all-out nuclear war. 60
Seventh Seal does not so much meditate on the abjection of death
Le Bone Florence of Rome and bourgeois self-making
of kinship: between husbands and wives, and between
parents and children. The compilation, then, emphasises the idea of
the nuclear family that is also discernible in the picture of the family at
prayer in the Bolton Hours.
200 Felicity Riddy
All these anonymous poems in CUL Ff. 2. 38 are, moreover, in
tail-rhyme or four-stress couplets; there is nothing by Chaucer, Gower
or Lydgate, and nothing written in the Chaucerian stanza forms – rime
royal and five-stress couplets – that writers in the fifteenth-century
instead the identification of small nuclear-family-like units.
Figure 1.2 The distribution of cemeteries mentioned in this book:
Abingdon I, Upper Thames
Apple Down, West Sussex
Beckford B, Worcestershire
Bergh Apton, Norfolk
Blacknall Field, Wiltshire
Bloodmoor Hill, Suffolk
eleven bodies within the
model are changeable as ecological circumstance shifts,
since all are by nature ecologically entangled.14
Most contemporary scholarship on environmental entanglement
looks for its examples to the Anthropocene, finding in this epoch
when carbon and nuclear isotopes are embedded by human industry into the geological record the termination of air’s invisibility.
Recognising air’s weight as historical marker, Jesse Oak Taylor
argues that the neologism ‘smog’ (1905) conveys a climatic interface that only the
English Literature: Intersections (Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1994), pp. 76–94; and ‘Linear or Nuclear?
Family Patterns in Some Middle English Popular Romances’,
Publications of the Medieval Association of the Midwest, 12 (2005), 26–51.
13 Among several important studies, see Felicity Riddy, ‘Mother Knows
Best: Reading Social Change in a Courtesy Text’, Speculum, 71 (1996),
66–86; ‘Middle English Romance: Family, Marriage, Intimacy’, in
Roberta L. Krueger (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Medieval
Romance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000
culture attends to the differences suggested by Jorgensen and Garrison by using the term ‘household’ rather than ‘family’ to discuss these kinship networks, which, during the medieval period, often exceeded nuclear and biological units. Ryan writes, ‘[a]cross the medieval period … [b]elonging to a household was a general principle of both productive and affective ties’.
complex uses of juxtaposed burials to define groups of graves and individual graves was seen at Great Chesterford, which was excavated in 1953–5 and revealed 161 inhumations and 33 cremations, though unfortunately only part of the cemetery had survived (Evison, 1994 ). Based on a small number of Roman cremations, Evison proposed that there had been a series of large Roman barrows on which the cemetery was focused. She went so far as to suggest that individual nuclear family units were placing their dead within particular Roman barrows. This is not a pattern that has
justify describing them as clusters of a nuclear family variety. Indeed, the graves at Morning Thorpe were extremely tightly crowded but not homogeneous, with statistically significant clustering around 1.5 m. As a result, there were four groups of graves, with a narrow but nonetheless visible gap separating them; notably, the central two groups had a particularly high density of graves ( Figure 6.4 ). As at Wakerley, these four groups (from left to right: A, B, C and D) were also associated with subtly different material culture. Notably, group A and D graves were more
‘it is impossible to exaggerate the earnestness with which a gentry family looked to the maintenance of its inheritance’, 165 it must be recognized that, in others, this anxiety was not extended beyond the bounds of the nuclear family to include the collateral kindred.
A second conclusion concerns the nature of political society. It has recently been remarked of ‘the men who managed things’ in later medieval England that ‘if power is to be located in one place then it should be with these gentlemen’. 166 For thirty years the Abberburys, father and son, were two