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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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Creditors and debtors

Creditors and debtors

(p.100) 4 Creditors and debtors
Credit and Village Society in Fourteenth-Century England

Chris Briggs

British Academy

In the previous studies about medieval creditors and debtors, two main points were constant: 1) creditors tended to be richer than the debtors; and 2) creditors and debtors tended not to overlap; an individual is generally a borrower or a lender but not both. This chapter aims to evaluate these propositions by focusing on the creditors and debtors of fourteenth-century English villages. It discusses the distinct traits and characteristics of creditors and debtors as groups, including the overall traits of the credit network participants. In this chapter and the next chapter, two approaches were used to study the villages. The first approach sought to determine generalizations about individuals in the aggregate and the second approach used court rolls to add nuance and qualification to the generalizations. The pre-plague decades of medieval Europe form the focus of this chapter. However the latter periods are also considered to determine the changes in the composition of creditor and debtor groups after the fourteenth century crisis had passed. The chapter also compares the village credit system to other regions of Europe, such as in the regions where urban lenders existed in a rural setting.

Keywords:   medieval creditors, medieval debtors, borrower, lender, court rolls, credit network participants, village credit system, urban lenders

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