The Medieval Peasant House in Midland England

by Nate Alcock & Dan Miles

From the publisher:

The aim of this lavishly illustrated book is to provide an in-depth study of the many medieval peasant houses still standing in Midland villages, and of their historical context. In particular, the combination of tree-ring and radiocarbon dating, detailed, architectural study, and documentary research illuminates both their nature and their status. The results are brought together to provide a new and detailed view of the medieval peasant house, resolving the contradiction between the archaeological and architectural evidence, and illustrating how its social organization developed in the period before we have extensive documentary evidence for the use of space within the house. - Oxbow Books, publisher


This long-awaited study of 'surviving' medieval peasant houses has, at its core, the architectural and dendrochronological survey of almost 120 houses in four Midland counties (Buckinghamshire, Leicestershire, Oxfordshire, and Warwickshire). It is, however, much more than a compilation of building surveys: the thoughtful introductory chapters and essays give it substantial intellectual value, and the numerous colour figures (well-chosen photographs and high-quality drawings) make it a pleasure to browse. (Stuart Wrathmell, Landscape History, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2013)

This is an important book, which sets out the evidence for a range of surviving houses, drawing out what is common or rare in the Midland region, and placing the findings in a wider context. The authors have also raised a number of issues that need now to be tested in other regions as the study of the medieval peasant house moves towards a national synthesis. (David Clark, Oxoniensia, Vol. 78, 2013)

This is a major step forward in vernacular studies. (Ancient Monuments Society Newsletter)

There is insufficient space here to do justice to the overall importance of this volume, which undoubtedly demonstrates the way forward for regional vernacular studies. There is so much that is of significance within this one volume that all those interested in the subject will be compelled to read the analysis chapters several times. It will undoubtedly be adopted as a key reference work. (Antiquaries Journal)


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