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Conviviality and charity in medieval and early modern England.

In `Conviviality and Charity in Medieval and Early Modern England',(1) Judith M. Bennett has examined the practice of the `help-ale' (a drinking party for the organizer's benefit) and concluded that it was a form of charity and poor relief which `celebrated the cohesiveness of the communities'. Such charitable aid was given to the poor but honest, a category which included officers and minstrels, as well as the life-cycle poor, but not `vagrants, beggars and idlers'.(2) The survival of the medieval poor, which according to Christopher Dyer remains a mystery,(3) can, Bennett argues, be partly explained by looking at the poor relief which was supplied by the poor themselves, rather than by upper-class institutions. Indeed, the medieval poor received little help from the upper layers of society. There were so many of them that they had to feed themselves, or, if they needed help, resort to the rest of the peasantry instead of putting their hopes in institutions known for their shortcomings. However, while this is so, I am not persuaded that Bennett's evidence proves that the beneficiaries of help-ales were either poor or honest, or that the exchange of overpriced ale for cash was charity. Neither do the many pieces of advice, instruction or admonition circulating in the Middle Ages: these distinguished between gifts and loans among neighbours, which is what help-ales were about, and `charity', for which benefactors could not expect a return in this life.

While Bennett has found interesting literary evidence, as well as known secondary sources and published parish accounts for the early modern period, her original research is based on the court rolls of the manor of Wakefield in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and in particular on the 1412-13 roll, which recorded a relatively high number of fines for help-ale brewing. I shall limit my comments to medieval help-ales.(4) We are told that the fifteenth-century rolls show that the poor sought charity by means of help-ales. But if we examine the records, this is not what they say. Far from being for the benefit of the poor, these parties appear to have been organized by distinct groups of various economic levels. They were largely male affairs, which challenges the hypothesis that the help-ales -- among other ales -- were particularly useful to women, who were more likely to be victims of poverty and more in need of charity than men. This interpretation should be discarded until some evidence is found which points in that direction: the Wakefield court rolls do not do so.(5)

Moreover, it is simply not true either that beneficiaries made great profits or that they were usually fined one shilling.(6) This is a generalization made on the basis of one tourn in one place. Help-ale fines fluctuated, just like those for commercial brewing, normally from 2d. to 12d. according to area, season and year, but they tended to be lower at tourns in the uplands and higher at those in the lowlands, such as Wakefield. They were higher at the tourn after the harvest, in October or November, than at the spring tourn, and higher and indeed more frequent in years of plenty than in years of scarcity.(7) By considering only the court roll for 1412-13, which was a good year, Bennett ignores the way that peasant prosperity collectively went up and down through the long-term agrarian cycles, as well as the seasonal variations in availability of both cereals and cash. There is a great difference between the 1412-13 fines and those recorded in a year of scarcity like 1439-40.(8) The 1406/07 roll, where H. Ling Roth discovered the Wakefield help-ales, is known for exceptionally high fines of up to 6s. 8d., as well as for the highest number of such offences (at least eighty-one).(9) In this year, fines were high even in small rural places, both for help-ales and other misdemeanours like drawing blood.(10) In 1439-40, after the bad harvests of the 1430s, the fines for commercial brewing fell to 2d. from the normal level of 2d. to 6d., and fewer offences were reported than in years of plenty. Conversely, there were more breaches of the assize of bread, attracting higher fines than usual. At the Wakefield tourn of April 1440, there were no help-ales; elsewhere, three help-ale brewers were not fined, possibly because their offences were minuscule. On some occasions they were attached rather than amerced, as Bennett has noted, but this does not mean that they were treated leniently, since some were brought to trial.(11)

We can see that help-ales were not characteristic of periods of poverty. Ale offences tended to disappear whenever there was a crisis. In the bad season of a bad year, barley, a bread cereal, could not be used to brew ale. An impoverished peasantry sacrificed ale for food, the simplest survival strategy. The hungry drink water, as all medieval writers knew: `You shall eat barley bread, and of the brook drink', said Piers Plowman to his labourers. The typical poor peasant moaned that `scarce for half the year had we a good sufficiency, scarce nothing save bread and bran and water', and even `lacked barley bread or bean bread'.(12) Legislation sometimes forbade the waste of barley in ale brewing.(13) This picture is not contradicted by the fact that help-ales went on in the Sowerbyshire area in upper Calderdale in 1440, for the uplands have been shown to produce normal barley crops in years of bad weather.(14) It seems safe to infer, therefore, that help-ales flourished in times of plenty, in areas with some cash, mostly among the middle and upper peasantry. In bad times, when survival was at stake, they disappeared.

Who attended these parties? Were the drinkers well-off peasants, villagers or small-town dwellers, or did they include all strata of society? Bennett tells us that the very poor were not admitted and the very rich attended only perfunctorily.(15) But to find out about these parties a more detailed examination of the Wakefield court rolls than that provided by the year 1412-13 is required. The evidence is extremely limited: the entries only recorded the place, the names of the offenders, the fines imposed, the type of offence and, exceptionally, whether it had been committed once or several times by each of them (les helpales in this case). Organizers were usually male: peasants and craftsmen, well-off town-dwellers or poorer uplanders; they were rarely servants and seldom female. We may assume that so too were their guests, but not necessarily that the different groups intermingled.

A more accurate way to assess the composition of the groups would be to look at the prices charged, since these would reveal the drinkers' purchasing power. But neither the prices nor the quantities brewed were mentioned in the court rolls, and of the profits, which would be an indicator of prices, it was said only that they were `excessive' or `too much', i.e., above the commercial rate. However, if we look at what alewives charged and at the fines they had to pay, we realize that there is a connection between the price of a gallon and the amount of the amercement, although such a connection varied over time. In the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries before the famine, fines were six or twelve times the price of a gallon, but they later dropped to between four and six times the cost, a fine of 2d. to 6d. for ale costing 1/2 d. or 1d. A fairly complete series of prices and fines for 1348-52 shows that fines went up before the plague and then down again to between 2d. and 6d., 12d. in some cases. They remained at this level for the following hundred years. After the plague, prices doubled and the fine-to-price ratio fell, possibly from 4:1 to 2:1.(16) We expect the help-ale prices to be higher than the commercial ones, so that if the alewives' price was still 1d. in the fifteenth century, attracting a minimum fine of 2d., a 2d. help-ale fine implies that a gallon was selling for 1 1/2 d. or 2d. The higher fines would then be related to higher prices, perhaps a 12d. fine for a price of 6d., 8d. or even 12d. a gallon, while the higher amercements of 20d., 24d., 40d. and 80d. (in 1406-8) would refer to multiple offences, exorbitant prices, large parties and wealthy people.

Taking into account a reasonable consumption per person, which medieval (and present-day Yorkshire) sources estimate at about one gallon, we may hypothesize that if the organizer brewed half a quarter of malt, fines of 2d. to 6d. indicate that the Sowerbyshire parties of the 1430s were modest gatherings of up to thirty people at most, more group affairs than village celebrations. Those who attended were prepared to drink a gallon each for an amount varying between lid. and, say, 4d., thus yielding an illicit profit of 30d. up to 8s. or 9s. The more affluent parties in and around Wakefield and Brighouse in 1406-08 were larger with higher prices, probably no lower than 6d. or is., and with profits of up to several pounds, like those of the seventeenth-century minstrel of Tamworth.(17)

Prices thus estimated, and almost certainly under-estimated, allow us to conjecture what type of people attended the helpales. They were rarely, if at all, poor: who would part with 6d. or 12d. in Wakefield in prosperous times, or with lid. or 2d. in a hill village in Calderdale in a bad year? Such prices excluded not only Bennett's category of deviant `vagrants, beggars and idlers', but a very large minority composed of smallholders, cottagers and labourers, many of whom were decent people who had to beg but who would have been labelled `vagrants' if unemployed. There is no reason why idlers, if successful gamblers, would have been excluded from drinking groups.(18)

Do we know whether the beneficiaries were, if not poor, at least `honest', `worthy' and `not profligate'? Did their being `of good standing' and `even constables' guarantee their morals? Medieval officers enjoyed such a bad reputation that any seen brewing and selling ale would have been suspected of extortion, because they could force people to buy drink in order to keep on the right side of `the Law'.(19) Many of these men may have been honourable -- which is what the medieval word honestus meant -- but nonetheless delinquent.(20) Other honest) of some status, who were victims of misfortune, sought episcopal backing to raise funds, but not, as far as we know, through help-ales or parish ales.(21) The first church ale for the benefit of a parishioner seems to have been in the very late fifteenth century. What we do know about the drinkers is that they could afford mildly or heavily overpriced ale, that they were probably on friendly terms with each other and that they counted on one another's monetary support. A thorough study of the Wakefield data would show the various economic levels within a highly stratified peasantry. Instead of a display of social harmony, we are likely to find a number of drinking circles, geographically and socially distinct, with their own levels of spending, consumption and spare resources to share.

Did the drinkers explain their behaviour as charity or mutual help? To answer this question we should go back to the many medieval sources which show the functioning of help and of the exchange of gifts and loans among friends and neighbours;(22) this was a quite separate field from that of charity, almsgiving and poor relief.

It should not be necessary to `fill out this [the manor rolls'] skeletal picture ... from other sources', where those sources come from other periods and concern other customs--for example, seventeenth-century church-ales--nor should it be necessary to resort to modern secondary works which interpret hospitality and charity in the light of what we know about the behaviour of the nobility and of the merchant class.(23) We should not disregard the wealth of material produced by medieval writers on, first, charity and almsgiving and, secondly and separately, on help and credit among neighbours. If we draw on contemporary sources for the interpretation of the hard `skeleton', it becomes clear that the exchanges taking place at help-ales were not seen as charity and almsgiving, but as the necessary giving and lending to keep the wheels of local society well oiled. A few examples, among the very many available, will make this clear.

Walter of Henley's Husbandry stressed the need to be on good terms with one's neighbours: `Acquaint yourself with loyal and wise folk, and have love for your neighbours, for it is said in French: He who has a good neighbour has a good morrow'.(24) The method was gift- or help-exchange, for giving to neighbours and friends was to receive back: `you should give to him who may do you good or harm', and `according to the person, and to whether your business with him is little or great'. In a separate paragraph, Henley introduced the rationale of giving to the poor, `not for the praise of the world but for the sake of God's praise', in other words, without expecting reciprocity in this life.(25) References to giving to friends and to the poor can be found sometimes in consecutive lines or paragraphs and, at other times, in unrelated passages.

In confessors' manuals, alms to the poor were listed among the works of mercy: `Poor, naked and hungry have you succoured meekly ... [and] prisoners and wayfarers?' But good relations with neighbours were usually found under `Envy', which included, among the sins to be declared, coveting one's neighbour's cows or wife, backbiting, bearing false witness against him, or refusing him the help he had asked for.(26) In an early fifteenth-century poem, the Good Wife advised her daughter:

... and also, for anything that may happen, please well your neighbours who dwell beside you ...

... welcome fair your neighbours, each man after his degree, and help the poor in need.(27)

As was usual, she was prepared to recognize social strata among those to whom she must be hospitable, but she placed `the poor in need' outside such categories.

Against a different economic and institutional background, Tusser's Good Husbandry was still giving some conservative pieces of advice: love, `friendly use' and mutual trust between neighbours were to be practiced, while the poor should be given daily alms.(28) Time and time again a distinction was drawn between giving to neighbours, who would return favours, and to the poor, who could not. Help between friends and neighbours should be placed among the gift and credit institutions rather than under the mantle of charity-almsgiving-poor relief.

The help-ale was one of the ways in which cash circulated locally. Like most medieval credit, help-ale cash was given as a gesture of friendly aid, for which no interest was charged. But credit was expected to come back to the giver in due course:

First, you must give before you are in need, because two shillings before--hand are worth more than ten shillings when they are needed. Second, if you must give or spend, do it with good will so that a thing will be [given back] to you as the double.(29)

As the distinction between gift and loan became sharper, it was possible to apply the same rules to pure loans. This was done by Tusser three centuries later:

... lending to neighbour, in time of his need, wins love of thy neighbour, and credit does breed.(30)

These examples could be multiplied. They persuade us that the English countryside knew forms of exchange within local circles which moved between the gift and the loan, and that both gifts and loans circulated within webs of reciprocity, to be repaid at an uncertain and possibly distant future date. The help of the group was indispensable for having a whip-round or for borrowing money. This is the reason why the medieval poor could not be invited to help-ales. Unable to contribute, they were excluded from membership of the drinking group. They could not afford `the cost of maintaining a place in the gang'.

Anthropologists and sociologists have examined such exchanges in modern drinking circles of widely different societies, including Yorkshire. Their studies have noted the formation of methods of co-operation among drinking partners, the strengthening of personal bonds, the opening of credit relationships, the establishment of multiple reciprocity contacts through collective consumption, as well as the existence of strict rules which apply to the exchange of drinks.(31) The theory applied by anthropologists to these exchanges is based on the now classical one first formulated by M. Mauss, which is in turn almost identical with the medieval theory of the gift derived from Aristotle and the Old Testament, and conveyed to the Middle Ages by the Greek fathers of the church, such as John Chrysostom. It distinguished between gifts to men, which were to be reciprocated and which placed the receiver in debt, and gifts to God, or alsm.(32) These latter would also be reciprocated, but in the other world. These theologians devised an indirect form of reciprocity--donor [right arrow] poor [right arrow] God [right arrow] donor--in order to insert the poor into the web of exchanges from which they would otherwise have been excluded. As Mauss found, classical ideas on reciprocity did not clash with Germanic traditions. English peasants could keep the reciprocity web functioning in the usual manner, while simultaneously absorbing the Christian notions of charity and almsgiving to the poor put to them by the low clergy.(33)

Bennett's interpretation of help-ales as charity parties is based on two thirteenth-century synodal statutes, among the many which forbade scot-ales, `called by a change of name charity'.(34) The word `charity', which evidently did not fool bishops, may have been a Latin translation of the English word `love'. For more than a century after this, no special name other than `ale' or `scot-ale' was used in connection with drinking parties. When the fully-fledged help-ale emerged in the fifteenth century, neither the Latin `charity' nor the Anglo-Saxon `love' were mentioned. Quite wisely, the locals called it `help', leaving the manorial clerk at a loss to find a Latin term for it, let alone a declension (brasiavit unum helpale, brasiaverunt cerevisias vocatas les helpales, and so on). The lower strata of medieval English society might have already developed that distaste for the idea of receiving charity typical of the working class.(35) Roth, who without any evidence also assumed that the `help' meant that the profits of the parties went to the poor, was surprised to find in the court rolls a very different appraisal of the Wakefield gatherings, as they were portrayed as being not only against the statute, but also to the prejudice of the lord's tenants.(36)

Medieval help-ales were not the solution, even in part, to the mystery of the survival of the poor, because those whose lives were at risk were not involved. In times of general impoverishment, when survival was an issue for entire layers of peasant society, help-ales tended to disappear. They multiplied in good seasons and years, and benefited men--and a few women--whether honest or not, who had friends with some spare cash, and who were in a position to reciprocate. We do not know how poor--or how rich--these beneficiaries were or what sort of monetary needs they resolved by their whip-rounds. The Wakefield court rolls suggest that organizers and participants operated at various economic levels in distinct circles. Help-ales raised funds which could vary from the quite substantial to the very modest, according to the size of the party and the economic ability of the circle. The poor, and not just the disreputable poor, were excluded by the high prices charged for the ale. The `profit' obtained amounted to a number of gifts or loans which followed the rules of multiple-reciprocity exchanges within the group rather than the rules relating to almsgiving, as is clear from contemporary sources on the theory and the practice of both gift and help exchanges, and of charity and almsgiving. Only by a series of semantic shifts, from `help' to `aid' to `poor relief' to `charity' to `almsgiving', could we treat these concepts as if they were one and the same thing. Medieval people could and did distinguish, as we do, between different motives and actions, however blurred the boundaries between them might have been.

We do not really know whether help-ales, which could be quite small, `celebrated the cohesiveness of communities'. This conclusion, while predictable, may be based on undue generalizations and ambiguous meanings attributed to terms; moreover, it does not appear to be supported by the medieval sources, which rather suggest that help-ales served as a mutual-help practice within separate groups at unequal levels.

(1) Judith M. Bennett, `Conviviality and Charity in Medieval and Early Modern England', Past and Present, no. 134 (Feb. 1992).

(2) Ibid., 38, 39.

(3) Christopher Dyer, Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1989), 257.

(4) The large manor of Wakefield belonged successively to the Warennes, the crown the Lancasters and again the crown. It was divided into twelve graveships and contained several sub-manors, extending from the area around Wakefield in the east to the upper Calderdale, bordering on Lancashire in the west. It held tourns in four towns: Wakefield, Kirkburton, Brighouse and Halifax.

(5) Bennett, `Conviviality and Charity', 28, 40, n. 53. Bennett seems to stretch the evidence on the participation of women in parish ales. A woman employed for the preparation of the event is neither a contributor nor a beneficiary. To prevent misinterpretations, it should be made clear that the `women's gatherings' at St Mary at Hill were not gatherings of women but gatherings of money for the benefit of the parish. These gatherings were unrelated to ales.

(6) Ibid., 28.

(7) Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, ed. W. Baildon et al. (Yorks. Archaeol. Soc. Record Ser., xxix-, Leeds, 1901-), i, 1274-97; ii, 1297-1309; iii, 1313-16 and 1286; iv, 1315-17; v, 1322-31, tourns for the year 1326, The Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, ed. H. M. Jewell et al. (Yorks. Archaeol. Soc., Wakefield Court Rolls Ser., ii-, Leeds, 1981-), ii, 1348-50, all tourns; iii, 1330-32, 1350-52. For a brief account of the fines imposed on alewives, see H. M. Jewell, `Women at the Court of the Manor of Wakefield (1348-1352)', Northern Hist., xxvi (1990). We cannot follow the help-ales through the fourteenth-century crises since such offences were not mentioned at that time.

(8) The 1430s were the only serious patch of bad harvests in the fifteenth century. Unfortunately some of the Wakefield rolls for this decade have not survived, while others are unrestored or illegible. The 1439-40 rolls, however, can be read without much difficulty: Yorks. Archaeol. Soc., W. Yorks. Archive Service, Leeds, MD 22511/165-1 and 165-2. For years of good and bad harvests, see Dyer, Standards of Living, 263, 268. On the crisis in the north, see P. J. P. Goldberg, `Mortality and Economic Change in the Diocese of York, 1390-1514', Northern Hist., xxiv (1988).

(9) H. Ling Roth, The Yorkshire Coiners, 1767-1783, and Notes on Old and Prehistoric Halifax (Halifax, 1906), 138.

(10) The maximum fine for drawing blood was 12d. in 1399, it reached 40d. in 1406 and again in 1412: Yorks. Archaeol. Soc., MD 225/11125/1-2, 132/1-2, 136/1-2.

(11) Bennett, `Conviviality and Charity', 29 n. 27. The abbreviation po (ponit se super patriam, or `is brought to trial') is written above some culprits' names instead of the usual amercements. That they were brought to trial implies that the drinking parties were recognized as a nuisance. There was at least one case of attachment at the Kirkburton tourn of October 1416 and three at the Brighouse tourn of April 1421, where the culprits awaited trial: Yorks. Archaeol. Soc., MD 225/11142, 147. Brewers of help-ales were also attached in the neighbouring manor of Methley in the 1430s: H. S. Darbyshire and G. D. Lumb, The History of Methley (Thoresby Soc., xxxv, Leeds, 1937), 176.

(12) The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman by William Langland, ed. W. W. Skeat, 10th edn (Oxford, 1923), Passus vi, 136, 71; John Bromyard, Summa praedicantium (Venice, 1586), `Furtum' and `Munus'.

(13) Such was the case in 1315-17 and still in 1625: J. de Trokelowe et Henrici de Blancforde monachorum Sancti Albani chronica et annales, ed. H. T. Riley (Rolls Ser., London, 1866), 96; Sidney and Beatrice Webb, English Poor Law History, 3 vols. (London, 1927, repr. 1963), pt 1, The Old Poor Law, 76. The pattern of peasant cereal consumption had of course altered considerably in the intervening 120 years between the famine and the 1430s: Dyer, Standards of Living, 268.

(14) Ian Kershaw has examined the different behaviour of the Pennine uplands in wet weather: on the upland estates of Bolton Priory the barley crop was normal in 1315-16, although in the fields further down it was reduced to 41 per cent: Ian Kershaw, `The Great Famine and Agrarian Crisis in England, 1315-1322', in R. H. Hilton (ed.), Peasants, Knights and Heretics (Cambridge, 1976), 101, 99.

(15) Bennett, `Conviviality and Charity', 39.

(16) These figures have been calculated on the basis of the average prices mentioned. Since we do not know the quantities brewed and sold in each case, the real average prices remain hidden. The fine-to-price ratio is likely to have been lower, for higher prices possibly conceal large brews, and therefore the average prices would have been higher and the ratio lower.

(17) Bennett, `Conviviality and Charity', 19. The minstrel of the poem quoted by Bennett brewed even less, charged much more and obtained 5 [pounds sterling] from a handful of very well-heeled friends, in accordance with the high level of his debts (60 [pounds sterling]), his credit worthiness and his evident status. This is not incredible, but revealing of personal and group wealth.

(18) Ibid., 39. In the Sessions of the Peace, `vagrants' were the local unemployed, guilty of not having a master. The idlers were presented as night-wanderers (noctivagi) and accused of getting money by gambling at the alehouse. As for beggars, the Statutes of Labourers attempted to starve the able-bodied into forced work but did not succeed in criminilizing begging.

(19) Ibid., 30. From the Charter of the Forest onwards, we can follow the extortion component of the scot-ales organized by officers, and condemned by parliament, bishops and synods.

(20) For instance, many Wakefield tenants, members of what the Toronto school calls the `A families', were rustlers on the side. See, for example, the story of the Patriks in Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, v, 40, passim. Minstrels, on the other hand, were not a good example of the `poor and honest'; they were often considered idle hangers-on (otiosi satellites) of the nobility, and were on the fringes of the inhonesta mercimonia, or disreputable activities: Bennett, `Conviviality and Charity', 30.

(21) This was achieved through indulgences granted to donors who contributed funds to restore the recipients to their previous fortunes. The indulgences amounted to a form of begging licence which ordinary beggars did without.

(22) We do not know how mans of them were kin. Medieval texts seem to include kin among `neighbours'. See below, nn. 20, 23, 27.

(23) Bennett, `Conviviality and Charity', 29. The sources of Bennett's interpretation are F. Heal, Hospitality in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1990); S. Brigden, `Religion and Social Obligation in Early Sixteenth-Century London', Past and Present, no. 103 (May 1984); J. Rosenthal, The Purchase of Paradise (London, 1972).

(24) Walter of Henley and Other Treatises, ed. D. Oschinsky (Oxford, 1971), 310-11 c. 11 (my translation from the French version). I am not suggesting that Henley wrote for the middle peasantry. He aimed higher, but his advice reflected current practice.

(25) Ibid., c. 14, 15.

(26) John Myrc, Instructions for Parish Priests, ed. E. Peacock (Early Eng. Text Soc., xxxi, London, 1868), 11. 1471-2, 45, on succouring the poor, 11. 1205 ff., 37, on help to neighbours; 11. 1240-4, 38, on backbiting; 11. 1287-94, 39, on lending without gain; 11. 1067-75, 33, on coveting one's neighbour's goods or wife. According to the mid-fourteenth-century Memoriale presbiteriorum, in W. A. Pantin, The English Church in the Fourteenth Century (Cambridge, 1955; repr. Toronto, 1980), 209, peasants sinned against their neighbours, as Myrc explained, and they sinned especially against the poor, who had nothing to offer.

(27) How the Good Wijf Tauzte hir Douztir, a poem of c.1430, in Early English Meals and Manners, ed. F. J. Furnivall (Early Eng. Text Soc., ord. ser., xxxii, London 1931), 11. 168-72, 44. A similar difference can be observed in monastic customs relating to hospitality (at the guest-house, according to status) and almsgiving to the poor (at the gate).

(28) T. Tusser, Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry (Oxford, 1984), 132, 160, 197.

(29) Walter of Henley and Other Treatises, ed. Oschinsky, 310-11, c. 13.

(30) Tusser, Good Husbandry, 19.

(31) Studies on functioning and membership of drinking groups include: N. Dennis, F. Henriques and C. Slaughter, Coal is our Life (London, 1969), on Yorkshire; T. Brass, `Beer Drinking Groups in a Peruvian Agrarian Co-operative', Bull. Latin Amer. Research, vii (1989); L. Magnusson, `Proto-industrialisation, culture et tavernes en Suede (1800-1850)', in Annales E.S.C., xlv (1990-1); M. Douglas and B. Isherwood, The World of Goods (Harmondsworth, 1980); further studies in M. Douglas (ed.), Constructive Drinking: Perspectives on Drink from Anthropology (Paris and Cambridge, 1987). The quote is from Douglas and Isherwood, World of Goods, 169. Their findings on group membership through consumption are confirmed by the thirteenth-century Potatores exquisiti, one of the Carmina Burana, in Medieval Latin Lyrics, ed. H. Waddell (Harmondsworth, 1952), 196: `If anyone happens to be hiding here / who is not interested in strong wine / let him be shown the door / and leave this crowd ...' (si quis latitat hic forte / qui non curat vinum forte / ostendatur ilk porte / exeat ab hac cohorte ...).

(32) M. Mauss, `Essai sur le don', in Sociologie et anthropologic, 4th edn (Paris, 1991), passim; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, iv; for John Chrysostom's sermons, see St John Chrysostom, Commentary on St. John the Apostle, 2 vole., trans. T. A. Goggin (Washington, 1969); C. A. Gregory, `Gifts to Men and Gifts to God: Gift Exchange and Capital Accumulation in Contemporary Papua', Man, new ser., xv (1980-4), applies criteria similar to Aristotelian-patristic ones.

(33) `Charity' also referred to gifts to the clergy, who could, but would not, reciprocate in this world, except in exchanges of presents with kin or between prelates and the aristocracy.

(34) Bennett, `Conviviality and Charity', 33. `Communes potationes quos scotallas mutato nomine caritatis appellant'; `compotationes que ficto caritates vero nomine scot-ales dicuntur': the first is a text attributed to Stephen Langton, in Councils and Synods with Other Documents Relating to the English Church, A.D. 871-1313, ed. D. Whitelock et al., 2 vols. in 4 (Oxford, 1964-81), ii, 560 n. e.; the second is from the Statutes of Wells [1258?], ibid., 604-5.

(35) The word `charity', of course, can be translated as `love', and as such could be used to mean anything, like the Yorkshire `love' nowadays. The semantic muddle may have started with the Vulgate, which simplified the many nuances of the Greek version, but was made worse in the modern versions by further simplifications which mixed up charity as brotherly love (agape or philadelphia) with charity as sharing (kainonia) and charity as doing good (eupoiia).

(36) For instance, the entry for the offence committed by the most highly fined brewers states: `Next, it is presented at the said great inquisition that William of Bretton (3s. 4d.), Thomas Baker of Normanton (6s. 8d.), William of Methley (3s. 4d.) and Richard Caly (3s. 4d.) of the same, webster, brewed ales called help-ales against the statute, and that they put them for sale to the prejudice of the lord King's people. Therefore each of them is amerced' (`Item presentatum est per magnam inquisitionem supradictam quod Gillam de Bretton (3s. 4d.), Thomas Baker de Normanton (6s. 8d.), Willelmus de Methley (3s. 4d.) de eadem, Ricardus Caly (3s. 4d.) de eadem, webster, brasiaverunt servisias vocatas help-ales contra statutum et easdem posuerunt vendicionem in prejudicium populi domini Regis. Ideo quilibet illorum est in misericordia'): Yorks. Archaeol. Soc., MD 225/1/132/1, Wakefield tourn of Oct. 1406. In later years, entries mention `excess profits' and `lucre': see Yorks. Archaeol. Soc., MD 225/1/146/1, Wakefield tourn of Oct. 1420; MD 225/1/165/2, Halifax tourn of Apr. 1440.
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Title Annotation:response to Judith M. Bennett, Past and Present, no. 134, February 1992
Author:Moisa, Maria
Publication:Past & Present
Date:Feb 1, 1997
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