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Credit and Village Society in Fourteenth-Century England$
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Chris Briggs

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264416

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264416.001.0001

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The forms of credit and their uses

The forms of credit and their uses

(p.29) 2 The forms of credit and their uses
Credit and Village Society in Fourteenth-Century England

Chris Briggs

British Academy

Interactions and exchanges in medieval Europe were dominated by the involvement of credit. In the broad sense, it means allowing someone a benefit or granting them a service on the premise and understanding that one would be able to make claim upon that person or their family in the future. Although credit in medieval Europe has the potential for diversity, most credit in medieval villages took a number of similar and familiar forms. This chapter aims to determine which forms of credit transaction were in use in England in the period and to establish which was the most important. The chapter also assesses the uses of credit and the amount and quantities of credit extended to the villages. In addition to determining the meaning of debt in the fourteenth-century context, the chapter also addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the English rural credit system compared with the contemporary regions of Europe. It also tackles two propositions concerning the credit system of medieval England. The first proposition assumes that the credit transactions in this period were generally small-scale and tended towards providing essentials on a short-term basis. The second proposition addressed herein assumes that borrowing during this period was large-scale, a reflection of the orientation of the transactions to enhance the borrower's future as well as the lender's.

Keywords:   interactions, credit, forms of credit, uses of credit, quantities of credit, exchanges, rural credit system

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