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Migrants in Medieval England, c. 500-c. 1500$
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W. Mark Ormrod, Joanna Story, and Elizabeth M. Tyler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266724

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266724.001.0001

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Migration in Rural England in the Later Middle Ages

Migration in Rural England in the Later Middle Ages

(p.238) 9 Migration in Rural England in the Later Middle Ages
Migrants in Medieval England, c. 500-c. 1500

Christopher Dyer

British Academy

This chapter surveys research on rural migration in medieval England and investigates the frequency of migration, length of journeys, mechanisms which enabled migration, migrants’ motives for movement, and their reception in their new places of settlement. Evidence comes from tax and manorial record from the West Midlands. Migration seems to have been normal and commonplace, and mostly within 10 miles (15 km), but with a significant range of longer movements. Different types of migrant appear to have had as a common characteristic an aspiration to betterment, and tended to confine journeys to the landscapes with which they were familiar. Movements had positive social results such as exposing villages to external influence. The precise geographical knowledge of people in medieval England probably extended c. 50 miles (80 km), but they did not lead such narrow and ignorant lives as is sometimes imagined.

Keywords:   Migration, Mobility, Regions, Landscapes, Travel, Geography, West Midlands

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