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Landholding, inheritance, and the seasons: reading women and space in fourteenth-century manorial court rolls.

Fourteenth-century court rolls for the two manors of Walsham-le-Willows, Suffolk (Walsham and High Hall), can shed light on how rural working women used and negotiated space in the course of their daily lives. Examples from the rolls illustrate how women encountered both the land and fields of Walsham and the manor court, and how women's uses of these spaces shifted at certain times. Patterns of landholding and inheritance are documented in the rolls, as is the seasonal cycle of rural life. Disruptions to this cycle are also recorded. Although women did not hold positions of public authority at the manor courts, examples of women's agency are evident in these rolls. Considering these court rolls within the context of women and space reveals fluidities in constructions of historical space and gendered roles of work and social interaction.

Surrenders: + Beatrice of the Brook to Ralph Echeman and his heirs, a messuage 21/2 a. of land, granted to him to hold by services and customs at the lord's will, fine 5s., pledge the hayward, under this form, viz. that Ralph shall provide for Beatrice a room suitable to her status, and 1 quarter of barley annually, measured in the market at Bury St Edmunds, for her lifetime. (1)

This entry from Ray Lock's calendared editions of the Walsham court rolls, dated 22 March 1328, is one of three entries concerning Beatrice of the Brook, all of which are land surrenders. (2) As a tenant of the manor of Walsham, Beatrice was able to surrender her land, and on this occasion she did so in exchange for housing and food 'for her lifetime'. The court rolls make no mention of whether Beatrice was married or not, but her land transfers were independently carried out, indicating that, during these years at least, she was living alone. (3) Land, in this instance, became a currency which could purchase the security of lodgings, and a record of this agreement in the court rolls. This entry highlights something of the value of land in fourteenth-century Walsham. Landholding brought with it a 'voice' at the manor court and, in this case, the ability to attempt to secure one's future. (4)

This essay uses evidence from the manorial court rolls to explore landholding, inheritance, and the seasons in fourteenth-century Walsham within the contexts of women and space. Particular examples of landholding and inheritance are considered within this discussion as I suggest these were crucial factors which influenced the relationship women had with the land. Court roll evidence indicates that Walsham was a typical rural community in relation to the role of the seasons in rural work. The manor fields which lay empty during winter were changed spaces altogether in harvest time, and again in autumn when they were worked by the tenants of the manor, gleaning corn to supplement their food stores before the long winter months returned. Studying landholding, inheritance patterns, and the seasons illustrates how women used and negotiated space in their daily lives, and examples of women's agency are revealed. (5) Furthermore, an analysis of work and social roles in times of crisis highlights the fluidity of constructions of gender and space, as women's relationship with manorial lands shifted to assume greater roles as necessity demanded. I use the term 'fluidity' because spaces were difficult to define as they were used for a variety of activities. Likewise, gendered roles of work and social interaction were not clearly defined, as women's roles varied throughout the course of their lives. While regional inheritance practices ensured men were more likely to hold land than women, and local custom restricted women's activities in court procedures, women were able to actively use both the land and the manor courts to their advantage.

The village of Walsham-le-Willows is located in the north of Suffolk, approximately ten miles north-east of Bury St Edmunds. (6) Lock identifies two manors for fourteenth-century Walsham, defining them as 'Walsham manor, sometimes referred to as Walsham Hall, and High Hall, also known as Wildcattes or Overhall'. (7) High Hall was 'much smaller than Walsham manor'. (8) A map of the parish, included in the introduction of Lock's editions of the court rolls, situates Walsham Hall close to the centre of the village, and also the church, while High Hall was situated some distance further east. (9) S. W. West and A. McLaughlin, in their description of the medieval landscape of Walsham, refer to the church, noting: 'It is likely that the church was at the original central core of the settlement on the gravel terrace on the north bank of the stream.' (10) This stream, also featured on the map included in Lock's editions, runs east to west through the parish. (11) The border of the parish is marked by a circular path, referred to as 'Procession Way alias Peddars Path alias Stubbings Way'. (12) Lock estimates the population of Walsham in 1349, 'immediately before the Black Death', was between 1300 and 1500. (13) Acknowledging the complexities of these estimates, Lock refines this figure to arrive at 'an adult population of 840, of whom 176 were tenants and 664 were non-tenants (277 male and 397 female)'. (14) Of the 176 tenants Lock notes, there were '153 male and 23 female'. (15) While non-tenants also appear in the rolls, the focus of the court rolls is, naturally, upon matters pertaining to landholding. (16) While it is difficult to estimate the size of an average landholding based on court roll evidence, Lock has established that in pre-plague Walsham about 180 tenants held, on average, less than ten acres, with the majority holding much less. (17) In the two centuries after the plague, Lock notes that landholding patterns shifted to the extent that 'half that number of tenants each held, on average, more than three times the area of land'. (18) In these two editions of the rolls over 450 women (tenants and non-tenants), are named. (19)

Referring to the English manor, Mark Bailey writes: 'providing a watertight definition of "the manor" between c. 1200 and c. 1500 is almost impossible, because its form was fluid and its characteristics were varied'. (20) Bailey also states, 'few medieval villages, parishes or vills were conterminous with one manor of the same name.' (21) This was the case with Walsham, where both Walsham and High Hall fell within the parish of Walsham. The court rolls were the official records of the manor court, and sought to encompass all business relating to the management of the manor. Based on the extant rolls, the evidence suggests that for Walsham manor, courts were held on average twice a year; less regularly for High Hall. (22) While the manor courts could be overseen by the lord or lady of the manor, this was not usually the case in Walsham, where a steward would usually oversee proceedings. (23) Other manorial officials, such as the reeve and hayward, were elected from among the tenants themselves to assist the steward. (24) Although all tenants were required to attend the manor court, they could 'apply to be essoined', which was to be excused from the session. (25) A typical session of the Walsham manor courts would begin with applications to be essoined, followed by the general business of the court. (26) Lock has established that this general business consisted of four categories: the consideration of offences and fines, disputes, land transactions, and administrative matters. (27) The Walsham courts also had jurisdiction to consider bread and ale assizes. (28)

Lock's calendared editions of the Walsham manorial rolls form the basis of this enquiry. (29) These are English translations of the Latin originals. The original Walsham court rolls are held in the Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds. There are 255 surviving fourteenth-century court rolls, '176 for Walsham Manor and 79 for High Hall. They are written on 196 membranes, of which 48 are for High Hall, where much less business was conducted than at the Walsham court'. (30) Lock also acknowledges that the rolls are not continuous; there is a surviving roll of 1303, and then none until 1316. Lock suggests the 1303 rolls survived because the dating was misinterpreted. (31) The rolls for Walsham court are also missing from the August 1319 session until the October 1327 session, although the rolls for High Hall during this period have survived. (32) Rolls from each of the following decades of the fourteenth century are extant, but they are more comprehensive for some periods than for others. As to the editing of the rolls, Lock presents the 1303 to 1350 rolls in five sections, and the 1351 to 1399 rolls in six sections. (33) Lock explains, for both, that this is 'as shown in the Table of Contents, and numbered in chronological order, unsegregated between the two manors'. (34) The rolls have been edited: land transactions, for example, 'have been reduced to a simple formula'. (35) All entries are included, however, and remain in the original order. (36) Three separate indexes in each edition list entries by persons, places, and subjects. (37) These indexes are used in this enquiry, and attempts have been made to manually confirm this information with the entries themselves. (38) These editions bring this relatively untouched source readily accessible to historical enquiry. (39)

The particular strengths of the court rolls lie in the number of surviving rolls, the period they cover, and the way in which a reading of these is revealing of the experiences of the women of Walsham, particularly in relation to landholding and the manor courts. Land transfers comprise a large percentage of entries in the Walsham rolls, indicating an active land market and its importance in the lives of rural dwellers. Lock has established that 'in the decade before the Black Death, the average number of land transactions was 20 per year', although he also notes: 'This indication of a healthy market in land tends to conceal the pressures brought about by high population and the fragmentation of peasant holdings caused by the local custom of partible inheritance.' (40) Certainly, the court rolls were a male-centred source, but women were involved in the local land market, were cited for acts against the lord, and sometimes paid their own marriage fines, although they were never elected as manorial officials. Women's land ownership and actual experiences with the land are recorded in the rolls, and a reading of such examples sheds light on understandings of how women used both manorial lands and the manor court. This source lends itself well to an analysis of women and space. While these are legal documents, the descriptions are, at times, quite vivid in describing aspects of everyday life on the manors and times of crisis. The impact of the great famine, which spanned 1315 to 1322, for example, is evident in the rolls, as is the plague, which arrived in Walsham in the summer of 1349. These entries provide an opportunity for assessing the effects of such disasters on women of the manor, both in their uses of the land in daily life, and patterns of landholding and inheritance.

Despite these strengths, limitations in the rolls mean that they are more conducive to particular forms of analysis than others. This essay is not one of statistical analysis, as any results would have to be strongly qualified, both in light of the gaps in the rolls at certain times, and in using an edited, calendared source rather than the original. This is illustrated in the case of Beatrice of the Brook. (41) There is an entry concerning Beatrice at the Walsham court of 1316 but the next is not until a session of 1328. (42) There is a roll for a Walsham session of 7 August 1319, but then nothing until a session of 10 October 1327. (43) The absence of court rolls for these years denies a full reading of Beatrice's story. Beatrice's landholdings and appearances at court, therefore, cannot be accurately calculated. This does not, however, prevent those of her experiences which are recorded from contributing to our understanding of rural women's lives in this period. The most methodologically rigorous way in which to approach these records is through a close reading of particular examples, of women such as Beatrice of the Brook, using the extant entries to explore how women encountered manorial lands and the manorial court.

This is, at heart, a cultural history. Lock's analysis of these court rolls offers estimates: of landholdings, tenants, mortality rates, all of which are crucial in creating a sense of the world of fourteenth-century Walsham. It is the entries themselves, however, which indicate how women encountered the land and the manor courts in their daily lives.

Using the Walsham court rolls to consider women and space, this essay seeks to contribute to the already rich field of scholarship engaging court rolls to explore rural life in medieval England. (44) Court rolls have previously been used as a source of historical enquiry into women's experiences and position in medieval society. Judith M. Bennett, in her study of the manor of Brigstock before the plague, uses manorial court records along with accounts and literary representations to show that, despite changes in women's opportunities, enduring patriarchies ensured rural working women did not enjoy permanent improvements in status. (45) Reflecting the interests of this essay, Bennett notes of the women of Brigstock: 'Women regularly moved across the boundaries that marked their subordination as a sex, perhaps ensuring by their movement that such boundaries remained fluid and flexible.' (46) Barbara Hanawalt has also made significant contributions to the study of working women's lives in the medieval period, with early research engaging coroner's records to study peasant families and, in particular, sexual divisions of labour. (47) Later work by Hanawalt has considered practices of space in medieval England. (48) Other recent work also highlights the value of studying women and space in this period, and the growth of this field as a form of historical enquiry. (49)

I. Landholding and Inheritance
   The landscape may be studied as a form of communal use of space.
   People invest their physical territory with social and symbolic
   meanings particular to the values of their own society. (50)


While this statement by Roberta Gilchrist is in relation to gender identities and the monastic landscape, her words also highlight the importance of studying the landscape in an analysis of rural women and their uses of space. Gilchrist studies archaeological evidence to consider relationships between gender and space, noting that:
   Space as a form of material culture is fundamental in constituting
   gender. It determines the contexts in which men and women meet; it
   assists in defining a sexual division of labour; it reproduces
   attitudes toward sexuality and the body. (51)


Gilchrist's reading of space underpins the way I read the land and fields of Walsham. The landscape of Walsham was shaped by patterns of landholding and inheritance, as determined by the manor courts and local custom. These patterns impacted upon how women used the spaces of the manors. Formulaic court roll evidence is enhanced by this reading of women and their uses of the land, simultaneously locating women within the landscape, and confirming the landscape as a physical space rich in cultural meaning. When the landholding patterns of rural dwellers can be broadly established, the impact of the land and seasons on their lives is better understood. Considering medieval East Anglia, for example, Christopher Dyer suggests most peasant landholdings were of two hectares or less, and that:
   In addition to the arable holding, each farm normally had a share
   of meadow, rarely more than a tenth of the total, and often also
   rights of common grazing ... (52)


Dyer also notes that 'peasants also often had common rights in woods or in places where turf could be cut (turbaries)'. (53) Farming practices varied according to region. Walsham fits the profile of a wood pasture region. (54) Reference is made throughout the rolls to a variety of crops, livestock was kept for food and fibre, and herbage and timber were collected from the forests. (55) Besides animals kept for domestic purposes, there were also those sourced from the lord's land for food, although this was poaching and fines could be levied upon those caught.

The division of work roles according to sex was not an entirely fixed practice, but was influenced by the landscape, farming practices, and the seasons. These shifting work roles changed the patterns of women's uses of space throughout the year. Mark Bailey notes that 'Walsham-le-Willows was patently an area of extensive open fields in the fourteenth century', while also observing that a 'few small parcels of land had been enclosed at a relatively early date', referring to a 1368 land transfer. (56) This landscape of open fields affected the spatial boundaries of the parish, and the interactions between tenants. Landholdings were a key factor in defining the physical landscape of Walsham. By extension, the manorial structure of the village was inextricably linked to the farming system of Walsham. In describing the 'loosely controlled commonfield system' of Walsham, Bailey refers 'to the village's complex manorial structure, and the tendency for manorial jurisdiction to transcend parish boundaries regularly: both of which undermined attempts at strict communal agriculture'. (57) I suggest that Walsham's complex manorial structure affected how tenants perceived space; when manorial jurisdiction transcended parish boundaries, other spatial boundaries assumed greater fluidity. This, in turn, influenced how women used the spaces of the manor, encouraging fluidities in gendered roles of work and social interaction.

Landholding patterns affected how women moved about the manors, along with the specific work roles which accompanied land ownership. Ownership of separate parcels of land could require travel in tending to multiple holdings, as holdings were not necessarily conterminous. Furthermore, there were tenants in Walsham who were required to appear at both courts to meet their manorial obligations; Olivia Cranmer was one such tenant. (58) Olivia is recorded in the court rolls of Walsham and High Hall on over twenty occasions between the years 1337 and 1395, and she swore fealty at both courts. (59) Olivia paid a fine for childwite in 1337, and is recorded as marrying Robert Hawys in 1338, although she continues to appear as Olivia Cranmer in court roll entries. (60) The Walsham court sessions of June 1349 and August 1349, at the height of the plague's devastation, record the deaths of William Cranmer (the elder) who was the grandfather of Olivia and her sister Hilary, and the deaths of William Cranmer (the younger), their father, along with his sons, Robert and William (brothers to Olivia and Hilary). (61) The outcome of this loss of the male line of the Cranmer family was that Olivia and Hilary became relatively rich in landholdings. (62) Olivia's number of landholdings across the two manors increased, by necessity, her mobility. In this instance, the farming landscape and manorial system of Walsham facilitated a wider use of space for women who held land across manors. (63) Perhaps more critically, Olivia's landholdings increased her presence at the manor courts. Presence at the manor was a work role in itself, as it was an activity requiring tenants to take time away from their daily work routines and participate in the public realm of the manor court.

A presence at the manor court could bring with it certain benefits, and it was not a space solely restricted to men. As previously demonstrated in the example of Beatrice of the Brook, land could be exchanged for security in old age. Olivia Cranmer eventually transferred lands and possessions to William Hawys, who was probably her sister's son, in return for support, in 1378.64 While this transfer is most probably a result of kinship ties, land transactions were not necessarily restricted to family, and women who owned land could extend their circle of connections beyond family through this means. Prior to Olivia's 1378 transfer, she had also surrendered land to Thomas Noble in 1354, and to Walter Marler in 1366, and been cited with a number of other tenants, both male and female. (65) A 1375 entry indicates that Olivia Cranmer's landholding also brought with it the ability to seek compensation for wrongdoing, when Adam Syre was:
   ... amerced 3d. because it was found by the enquiry that he took
   away from Olivia of Cranmer the crop from Vir. of meadow in Walsham
   meadow for eight years, her loss assessed at 5s.; ordered to raise.
   (66)


This evidence from the court rolls demonstrates that Olivia Cranmer was an active participant in both the Walsham land market and the manor courts. Her landholding, at the most basic level, required her to travel across the manors to attend court. While this extension of physical space was important, so too was her presence at the manor courts; her name was recorded in the court rolls listing her holdings, and her business transactions involving other tenants of the manors were noted. Fluidities of space in terms of separate manorial landholdings carried over into appearances at both manor courts, also suggesting fluidities of gendered roles of work and social interaction.

Despite this example of the landholding activities of Olivia Cranmer, it remains that Olivia's land acquisitions were a result of the lack of any male heirs to inherit the Cranmer holdings. Following the deaths of Olivia's grandfather and father, next in line to inherit the Cranmer holdings were her brothers, Robert and William. This division of property between heirs rather than to one heir, known as partible inheritance, was the custom in Walsham. A portion of a 1317 Walsham entry reads:
   John at the Wood, who recently died, held from the lord by the rod
   4Va. of land in Ashfield ['Aysthefeld'], for services VVd. per
   year, and suit of court from 3 weeks to 3 weeks, William and Henry,
   his sons, are his nearest heirs because the tenements are partible,
   following the custom of the manor. (67)


This custom was also practised in nearby locales. Citing figures from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries H. E. Hallam notes: 'The existing Bury St

Edmunds records make the more normal pattern of Suffolk very clear and link it firmly with the practice of partible inheritance.' (68) This was, in reality, partible inheritance among males. Olivia and her sister Hilary, for example, only inherited in the absence of males. As illustrated by this example, one of the outcomes of the decimation of the plague was that women who survived this disaster could find themselves inheriting lands which would previously have been passed through the male line. (69) Partible inheritance may also go some way towards explaining the high number of small landholdings in Walsham, as land was broken up into smaller holdings to distribute among heirs.

A method which would seem to illustrate the circumvention of the custom of partible inheritance is recorded in the Walsham court rolls of January 1366, when Hilary (sister of Olivia Cranmer) and her husband, John Margery, surrender:
   ... 12Va. of land, 2a. of meadow and 1a. of woodland, and half of a
   messuage in Walsham of the bondage of this manor, to the use of
   Joan Margery and Alice Margery [2], daughters of John and Hilary.
   Of these [tenements], the said half messuage is called Cranmers
   ['Cranemerys'] ... (70)


The name of this half messuage suggests that this is land which Hilary inherited following the deaths of the male Cranmer family members in the plague. This lengthy entry also notes that the surrender is undertaken 'outside the court', and includes an account of Hilary's examination as to her consent to the surrender, and that it was 'of her own free will, without duress, coercion or flattery from her husband'. (71) Both the detail of the entry and the physical location of this surrender are of interest here. This is an unusual land surrender, falling outside the inheritance customs of the manor court, as Hilary also had two sons, William Hawys and Robert Hawys, who could inherit this land. The court roll entry immediately following this one may reveal the motivation behind the surrender to Joan and Alice Margery:
   They also say that the same Hilary Margery [nee Cranmer] died since
   the last court, that she held from the lord 31a.3r. of villein
   land, VVa. of meadow, 1r. of wood and half of a messuage in
   Walsham, and that the lord had as heriot a cow, worth 10s. Her
   heirs are her sons, William Hawys and Robert Hawys, who will have
   entry to the said tenements by the heriot after the death of John
   Margery [2], who will hold the tenements for his lifetime by the
   law of England; seisin was delivered to him in that form. (72)


Considered together, these entries confirm that John Margery continued to hold all of Hilary's lands after her death, albeit a portion of it through his daughters. Certainly, the tenements surrendered to the use of his daughters would appear to grant them some power as landholders but, as they were unmarried, they were ultimately answerable to their father. Alice and Joan are not mentioned in the rolls again until December 1369, when a Walsham court entry records the death of Alice, stating 'that Joan Margery, her sister, is Alice's nearest heir and of full age. Joan came and received the said tenement from the lord.' (73) The next, and final, entry for Joan is in the Walsham session of September 1378, which reads:
   John Margery [2] paid 3 s. fine for having his term in half of a
   messuage and 12a. of land, 1a. of wood and 2a. of meadow, which he
   leased (conduxit) from Joan Margery his daughter, for a term of
   three years, beginning at the coming Michaelmas. (74)


This entry demonstrates that, at the very least, a formal arrangement is in place which recognizes that Joan Margery is the landholder, although her father appears to be in control of the management of the land. To conclude, both land and the manor court became accessible to Joan Margery and Alice Margery, and their inheritance was recognized, but this was an accessibility which was perhaps to the benefit of John Margery above all.

Returning to the initial land transfer to Joan and Alice Margery, the alternative would have been for Hilary's sons, William Hawys and Robert Hawys, to take up these tenements. As this did not occur, they did not stand to inherit anything until John Margery's death. Undercurrents of resentment over this outcome are alluded to in a 1378 Walsham court entry, when William Hawys is 'amerced 3d. for his false claim against John Margery [2] in a plea of trespass.' (75) In this instance, the surrender of land was marked by questions of coercion and dispute.

Landholding in fourteenth-century Walsham was gendered, and this is demonstrated in patterns of land transfer. As shown, both women and men received land in land transfers, but women were by no means as active in this arena as their male counterparts. As also suggested by the above examples, marital status played a role in women's participation in land transfers. Wives did not have the legal right to engage in land transactions independently of their husbands. Singlewomen could still be under the control of their parents, and it is widows who seem to have been most active in the Walsham land market, inheriting land after the death of a husband and taking on the associated responsibilities. (76) Land transfers could also be manipulated to the advantage of those in positions of greater authority. Under certain circumstances, women who held land were able to use the structures of the manorial courts to their advantage, although this was ultimately a system in which male landholders held greater power, and could assume positions of public authority. (77)

II. The Seasons

The agricultural cycle of the year played an enormous role in the daily lives of rural men and women as places of work and employment patterns shifted with the seasons. Gilchrist notes: 'Adherence to spatial domains was seasonal, however, with women assisting in the fields at harvest time and men spending more time close to the home during winter months.' (78) This shift in uses of space also saw shifts in social relations through the seasons, with tenants more likely to be working together in the fields at busier times of the year.

The Walsham court rolls make numerous references to seasonal works which tenants were required to undertake as part of their manorial obligations, such as reaping, haymaking, and ploughing. It was, however, common for these obligations not to be met. Tenants may have attended to the demands of their own fields first, deciding a fine was preferable to the loss of their time and crops. Considering these fines within the context of gender may indicate something of women's worth in the fields. An August 1319 Walsham entry, for example, reads:

Peter Robbes, Walter Deneys, Walter Osbern the elder, Richard Kebbil, Walter Man, John Hewe, William Rampolye, Robert Kembald, Marsilia Hawys and Geoffrey of Lenne, each amerced 3d., because they did not perform their works in the lord's meadow, as they had been summoned to do, pledges each for another and the hayward. (79)

This entry shows nine men and a woman, Marsilia Hawys, being fined the same amount, and also pledging, albeit in a group, for each other. Marsilia, widow of Robert Hawys, was a landholder of some status in Walsham. Marsilia is referred to in sixteen court roll entries between 1316 and 1338, and was an active participant in the processes of the Walsham manor court. (80) Marsilia is first recorded in the extant Walsham court rolls in October 1316, when she was involved in the details of a fine for leave to marry by her daughter, Agnes. (81) The 1319 entry quoted above was from a time of labour shortage, caused by famine, but it does suggest that the neglect of a duty, if not the work itself, could be valued similarly for men and women when it came to seasonal work.

With an urgency attached to the completion of seasonal tasks, the division of work roles according to sex could not always be rigid, and this is reflected in the court rolls. In the above entry, the grouping of tenants together as workers also led to them acting as 'pledges each for another and the hayward'. (82) In this instance, the particular equality arrived at by the necessity of seasonal works carries over into the procedures of the manor court, enabling Marsilia to participate in this process. This joint pledging does not, however, appear to have been of any benefit to Marsilia in terms of extending her relationships of reciprocity in the years to come. To expand, the court roll entries note that Marsilia was pledged on seven occasions: once by her son, Peter; on another occasion by her son, William; one pledge is the one cited above 'each for another and the hayward'; twice by the hayward alone; one as 'each for another'; and finally, by the reeve. (83) Although Marsilia was able to pledge as part of a group, she never acted as a sole pledge for anyone, and her only pledges were either her sons or manorial officials. Pledging, in this instance, enabled Marsilia to reinforce familial relationships in the written record of the manor court, and demonstrated her official recognition as an active tenant of the manor court, although it could not affirm any wider relationships. The final entry concerning Marsilia is also of interest. In the December 1338 Walsham session, two consecutive entries concern land transfers between Marsilia's sons, William and Walter. The second entry concludes: 'Upon this William acknowledges himself bound in 2 bushels of wheat and 2 bushels of barley to his mother, Marsilia Hawys, to be delivered to her annually at Michaelmas, for all her lifetime, for the dower which belongs to her as of right'. (84) This demonstrates yet another occasion where women who held land were able to attempt to ensure some form of security in old age. Numerous entries in the rolls indicate which work roles were usually determined by sex and which were more fluid. While women were never cited in the rolls in relation to ploughing or haymaking, both men and women gleaned. Only women are cited in relation to winnowing, albeit in one Walsham entry of October 1353 which names ten women. (85) In the September 1373 Walsham session, Olivia Cranmer is cited as the sole woman with four men 'each amerced 1d. because they did not perform [carting] service with a tumbrel, when summoned'. (86) From such entries it appears that women worked the fields of the manors in some tasks equally to men at particular times. This equality was probably a result of a demand for labour but it remained that in Walsham other tasks, such as ploughing, seem to have continued to be divided according to sex, with demand playing little or no part in this division. (87) These examples illustrate that in Walsham the everyday tasks of both women and men were affected by seasonal cycles, and women's uses of particular spaces shifted at certain times of the agricultural year.

The seasonal cycle was a constant reminder of the earth as 'both the origin and the end of human life'. (88) The unpredictability of the seasonal cycle was an ever-present concern for the medieval rural dweller. Robert Worth Frank Jr considers the half-line uttered by William Langland's Piers Plowman: 'but if the londe faille'. (89) Frank notes that Piers Plowman voiced a very real concern of all those who relied upon the land for survival and that these words, 'for Langland and many in his audience ... would be charged with dramatic meaning'. (90) He continues, noting that 'Piers's half-line reflects a harsh truth: In England the land had failed, more than once, in the fourteenth century.' (91) While Frank discusses this failure within the context of Piers Plowman, it is also taken up by Bruce Campbell in his discussion of ecology and economics in this period. Campbell notes that 'The first half of the fourteenth century was characterized in England by a succession of extreme and disastrous events' and goes on to describe how rain ruined harvests in 1315, grain prices soared, and that England was experiencing famine in 1316. (92) Surviving rolls from October 1316 (Walsham) through to December 1321 (High Hall) locate this catastrophic event within the lives of a rural community. (93)

While it cannot be known for certain it was the result of famine, there were higher than usual numbers of deaths recorded in the court rolls during the famine years. At the Walsham manor court, for example, there are four deaths recorded in the court session of January 1317 (Walter Heryrof, Peter Qualm, William Machon, and Walter, the son of James the shepherd), three deaths in the April 1317 session (Adam Goche, William Typetot, and John Wyndilgard [Wyndirgard]), two deaths in the August 1317 session (William Hereward and John Stronde), and one death in the October 1317 session (John at the Wood). (94) Four sessions per year was also above average for Walsham. In the April 1317 Walsham session, Agnes Goche, aged three, is named as the nearest heir upon the death of her father, Adam Goche. (95) Agnes eventually receives her inheritance in the December 1329 Walsham court session, at about age fifteen. (96) Eleven other tenants, nine male and two female, also receive their inheritance at this session, indicating that these children who lost parents during the famine years had reached full age, and it was determined timely to settle their claims. (97) Walter Qualm, for example, was recorded in the rolls as being three years old when his father's death was entered in the Walsham session of January 1317. (98) Walter also received his inheritance at this December 1329 session. (99) The lasting impact of the famine, therefore, continued to be felt over ten years later, as these children reached full age and assumed their inheritance.

The manor court rolls are a male-centred source, but they can offer a valuable reading of women's experiences on the fourteenth-century manor. When considered within the contexts of landholding, inheritance, and the seasons, court roll entries are revealing of how women negotiated the lands of the manors, and the manor courts. Property inheritance customs favoured men above women, but under certain circumstances women became landholders and exercised their accompanying rights at the manorial courts, albeit in a different capacity to men. When Beatrice of the Brook surrendered her land in the Walsham court session of 1328, she was seeking to guarantee her security 'for her lifetime'. (100) Olivia Cranmer's land surrender of 1378 was in pursuit of a similar aim. (101) Marsilia Hawys pledged, albeit in a group, as a landholding tenant of the manor, confirming she was a tenant of certain status in the community. (102) Agnes Goche was granted her inheritance by the court when she came of age. (103) These examples provide a glimpse into how women used the processes of the manor court to their advantage. These actions also highlight fluidities in constructions of gender and space in fourteenth-century Walsham. While certain events, such as famine and plague, might demand shifts in how women used the land and the manor courts, the evidence suggests that this is revealing of fluidities in constructions of historical space and gendered roles of work and social interaction, rather than a precursor to social change. The women whose stories have been drawn from these court roll entries were able to use the land and the manor courts in a way which enabled them to benefit from the rights they could have as landholders, but this was within a system which ultimately recognized public authority as the realm of men.

APPENDIX 1: Olivia Cranmer

I read Lock's index entries for these two women named Olivia Cranmer as relating to one woman. In explanation, I offer the following details. One of these women is referred to in Lock's index as the daughter of William Cranmer the elder; the other woman is referred to as the daughter of William Cranmer the younger, along with the index note: 'see Hawys, Olivia' (CRWWI, 'Index', p. 345). Lock uses (1) in his index to denote 'the elder', with (2) representing 'the younger'. The court roll entries themselves, however, do not seem to clearly distinguish between these two women. I suggest that the woman described in Lock's index as Olivia, the daughter of William Cranmer the elder is, in fact, the same woman as Olivia, the daughter of William Cranmer the younger. I have not found any instance of Olivia the daughter of William Cranmer the elder being described in the rolls as such; rather she is described as 'Olivia the daughter of William of Cranmer' (CRWWI, p. 216) or 'Olivia the daughter of William Cranmer' (CRWWI, p. 299). In comparison, a Walsham court entry of March 1338 does describe another woman as 'Agnes the daughter of Thomas Fuller the elder' (CRWWI, p. 232). See also Hatcher, The Black Death (pp. 305-09). Hatcher uses Olivia Cranmer as a character in his work, referring to her appearance at court to pay a fee for childwite, her marriage to Robert Hawys, and then creating her pilgrimage to Rome. In Hatcher's depiction of Olivia Cranmer, details which Lock attributes to two different women appear to be merged into one character. Lock, for example, has the Olivia Cranmer who pays a childwite fee in 1337 as the daughter of William Cranmer the elder, with the entry describing her as 'Olivia the daughter of William of Cranmer' (CRWWI, p. 216), while the Olivia who marries Robert Hawys is recorded as the daughter of William Cranmer the younger (CRWWI, p. 222), as she is described in that particular entry. It is from my reading of the rolls, and influenced by Hatcher's account, that I draw this conclusion. See too, CRWWII, 'Introduction', pp. 1-20 (p. 20). Lock outlines the fortunes of the family of William Cranmer, but his reading differs from mine in relation to the final entry for Olivia, which Lock dates at 1354 (CRWWII, p. 42). I have continued to read entries relating to Olivia Cranmer beyond this date. I am assuming that Olivia's marriage to Robert Hawys did not last, and that Olivia reverted to the Cranmer name. On Olivia's marriage see also, Hatcher, who writes that her marriage to Robert Hawys 'had been mercifully short' (The Black Death, p. 307).

APPENDIX 2: Hilary Cranmer

The example of Hilary Cranmer also highlights the difficulties in tracing women in the court rolls, particularly in respect to marriage. Hilary Cranmer pays a fine for leave to marry in November 1350: 'Hilary the daughter of William Cranmer [the younger] pays 13s.4d. fine for leave to marry John the son of Peter Margery, pledge the hayward' (CRWWI, p. 334). This amount indicates a relatively high level of wealth, almost certainly in light of the inheritance received by Hilary and her sister, Olivia, after the deaths of the male members of their family. Hatcher also comments on 'the unprecedently large sum' of this marriage fine (The Black Death, p. 307). Other extant entries in the court rolls suggest that Hilary had two sons prior to this marriage, William Hawys and Robert Hawys: 'Hilary Margery [nee Cranmer] ... Her heirs are her sons, William Hawys and Robert Hawys' (CRWWII, p. 84). Although Lock's index refers to Hilary as Hilary Hawys, wife of John, (CRWWI, p. 348) there do not appear to be any entries confirming this marriage. Lock's index also refers to William and Robert Hawys as the sons of John, senior (CRWWII, p. 218).

Despite the absence of an entry recording such marriage, it would appear that Hilary was married to a John Hawys prior to her marriage to John Margery, and this would explain the parentage of these sons. There are three men with the name John Hawys recorded in the first volume of the rolls, and one in the second volume; it is the single entry for John Hawys in the Walsham session of 1349 which may refer to the husband of Hilary. This entry, which follows the entry recording Olivia and Hilary being granted entry after the death of their brother, describes John as the son of 'Walter Hawys, who died since the last court' (CRWWI, p. 326).

(1) Ray Lock, ed., The Court Rolls of Walsham Le Willows 1303-1350, Publications of the Suffolk Records Society, gen. ed. Mark Bailey, 53 vols (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1998; repr. 2002), XLI, p. 107 (page citations are to the reprint edition). This edition is hereafter referred to as CRWWI. Lock defines a messuage as a 'tenement on which a dwelling is built' (p. 340).

(2) CRWWI, p. 107. See too, pp. 38-39 and p. 120, which record land surrenders in October 1316 and January 1329, respectively. Beatrice is referred to as 'Beatrice ate Broke' in the 1316 entry.

(3) CRWWI; and Ray Lock, ed., The Court Rolls of Walsham Le Willows 1351-1399, Publications of the Suffolk Records Society, gen. ed. David Dymond (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2002) XLV. This edition is hereafter referred to as CRWWII. Lock's index (CRWWI, p. 344) shows there are only seven people with the name 'of the Brook' or 'at Brook' recorded in the Walsham rolls; there are none in the 1351-1399 edition. In comparison with other surnames recorded in the rolls, this is not a large kinship group. Marriage, of course, could considerably widen kinship groups. See, for example, CRWWI, p. 326: 'Catherine at the Brook pays 4s. fine for leave to marry John Patel, pledge the hayward.' There are thirty-six people listed in the index of this volume alone with the surname of Patel.

(4) On manorial court rolls as 'voices from the village court' see Sherri Olson, A Chronicle of All That Happens: Voices from the Village Court in Medieval England, Studies and Texts, 124 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1996).

(5) On 'agency', see Mary C. Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski, 'Introduction: A New Economy of Power Relations: Female Agency in the Middle Ages', in Gendering the Master Narrative: Women and Power in the Middle Ages, eds Mary C. Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003), pp. 1-16.

(6) Walsham-le-Willows is hereafter referred to as Walsham. On the place name, see S. E. West and Audrey McLaughlin, Towards a Landscape History of Walsham Le Willows, Suffolk, East Anglian Archaeology, ed. David Buckley, managing ed. Jenny Glazebrook, Report No. 85 (Ipswich: Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service, in conjunction with The Scole Archaeological Committee, 1998), p. 1. West and McLaughlin note: 'The earliest known use of "the willows" is in a will of John Robhood, 1537 (SRO IC 500/2/20).'

(7) CRWWII, p. 3. Lock also notes that the Prior of Ixworth had a holding, which does not seem to have been known as a manor (Walsham Churchhouse) until the fifteenth century. I am using the Introduction to Volume 2 as the predominant source of reference.

(8) CRWWII, p. 3.

(9) CRWWI, p. 16; CRWWII, p. 16, Map 2. 'THE PARISH OF WALSHAM LE WILLOWS, showing the halls of the two manors, roads and other identifiable topographical features in the court rolls of 1303-1399. Also shown are areas of known medieval settlement revealed by archaeological fieldwork in the 1980s.'

(10) West and McLaughlin, Towards a Landscape History, p. 9.

(11) CRWWII, p. 16, Map 2.

(12) CRWWII, p. 16, Map 2.

(13) CRWWII, p. 1, citing Ray Lock, 'The Black Death in Walsham le Willows', Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, XXXVII (1992), 316-36.

(14) CRWWII, p. 15. This calculation is incorrect in respect to the breakdown of the 664 non-tenants, with 277 and 397 totalling 674, not 664.

(15) CRWWII, p. 15.

(16) CRWWII, p. 15. Lock also makes this point. Using 1400 as a mean of the population figures, Lock estimates that 'the non-tenants would have numbered 1224 (547 male and 677 female)'.

(17) CRWWII, p. 13.

(18) CRWWII, p. 13, citing K. M. Dodd, The field book of Walsham le Willows, 1577, SRS, XVII (1974), pp. 40-41.

(19) CRWWI; CRWWII. This figure is arrived at with the assistance of Lock's index.

(20) Mark Bailey, 'Introduction', in The English Manor, c. 1200-c. 1500: Selected Sources translated and annotated by Mark Bailey, Manchester Medieval Sources Series (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002), pp. 1-20 (p. 2).

(21) Bailey, 'Introduction', pp. 6-7.

(22) CRWWII, pp. 3, 7.

(23) CRWWII, p. 7.

(24) CRWWII, p. 7.

(25) CRWWII, p. 7.

(26) CRWWII, pp. 7-8.

(27) CRWWII, p. 8.

(28) CRWWII, p. 8.

(29) CRWWI; CRWWII.

(30) CRWWII, p. 3.

(31) CRWWII, p. 3.

(32) CRWWI, pp. 83-104.

(33) CRWWI, p. 21; CRWWII, p. 21.

(34) CRWWI, p. 21; CRWWII, p. 21.

(35) CRWWII, p. 21.

(36) CRWWI, p. 21.

(37) CRWWI, pp. 343-73; CRWWII, pp. 215-34.

(38) See too, CRWWII, p. 23. As to the difficulties of identifying people who shared the same name, Lock refers to 'several instances of names being triplicated and even quadrupled, as well as many duplications'. To counter this, Lock has included numbers after such names, in the following form: [1], [2], etc., both in the entries and the index. Instances of shared names, along with the particular difficulties of tracing women after marriage, or marriages, make sole reliance on these indexes problematic. The inclusion of these indexes, however, is an admirable and worthwhile undertaking, which enhances this source. Due to the nature of this research I argue any discrepancies in the indexes do not undermine the overall enquiry.

(39) The rolls have been a valuable source for local history. See, for example, the Walsham History Group Quarterly Review: www.walsham-le-willows.org/history/quarterlyreview. This is not the first use of Lock's editions of the rolls. See, for example, Miriam Muller, 'A Divided Class? Peasants and Peasant Communities in Later Medieval England', Past and Present Supplement, 2 (2007), 115-31. See too, John Hatcher, The Black Death: The Intimate Story of a Village in Crisis, 1345-1350 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008; Phoenix, 2009; page references to reprint edn).

(40) CRWWI, p. 14.

(41) CRWWI, pp. 38-39, 107, 120.

(42) CRWWI, pp. 38-39, 107.

(43) CRWWI, pp. 83-86, 102-04.

(44) For a broad overview, see Zvi Razi and Richard M. Smith, 'The Historiography of Manor Court Rolls', in Medieval Society and the Manor Court, eds Zvi Razi and Richard M. Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 1-35. More recent work includes: Phillip R. Schofield, 'Peasants and the Manor Court: Gossip and Litigation in a Suffolk Village at the Close of the Thirteenth Century', Past andPresent, 159 (1998), 3-42; Erin McGibbin-Smith, 'The Participation of Women in the Fourteenth-Century Manor Court of Suttonin-the-Isle', Marginalia, 1 (2005): www.marginalia.co.uk/journal/05margins/smith.php; and Miriam Muller, 'Social Control and the Hue and Cry in Two Fourteenth-Century Villages', Journal of Medieval History, 31.1 (2005), 29-53.

(45) Women in the Medieval English Countryside: Gender and Household in Brigstock before the Plague (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987; repr. 1989; page references to reprint edn). See too, Judith M. Bennett, Ale, Beer andBrewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996); Judith M. Bennett, History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), esp. Ch. 4: 'Patriarchal Equilibrium'.

(46) Women in the Medieval English Countryside, p. 178.

(47) The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986; repr. 1988). The important contribution of P. J. P. Goldberg to the study of women and work in medieval England must also be acknowledged. See, for example, Women, Work, and Life Cycle in a Medieval Economy: Women and Work in York and Yorkshire c.1300-1520 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992). Also engaging legal records, Goldberg uses poll tax returns, wills, and cause papers as key sources in this study (pp. 26-38).

(48) 'The Host, the Law and the Ambiguous Space of Medieval London Taverns', in Medieval Crime and Social Control, eds Barbara A. Hanawalt and David Wallace, Medieval Cultures Series, 16 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), pp. 204-23; Barbara A. Hanawalt and Michal Kobialka, eds, Medieval Practices of Space, Medieval Cultures Series, 23 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000).

(49) For recent publications which consider women and space in legal and religious contexts respectively, see Anthony Musson, ed., Boundaries of the Law: Geography, Gender and Jurisdiction in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005); and Virginia Chieffo Raguin and Sarah Stanbury, eds, Women's Space: Patronage, Place, and Gender in the Medieval Church, SUNY Series in Medieval Studies (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005).

(50) Roberta Gilchrist, Gender and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Religious Women (London: Routledge, 1994; London: Routledge, 1997; page references to reprint edition), p. 63.

(51) Gender and Material Culture, p. 17.

(52) Christopher Dyer, 'Documentary Evidence: Problems and Enquiries', in The Countryside of Medieval England, eds Grenville Astill and Annie Grant (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988), pp. 12-35 (p. 21). This observation is made as part of a broader discussion of social hierarchy and use of resources in the countryside.

(53) Dyer, p. 22.

(54) Mark Bailey, 'Sand into Gold: The Evolution of the Foldcourse System in West Suffolk, 1200-1600', Agricultural History Review, 38.1 (1990), 40-57 (p. 42). Map I North-west Suffolk in the later Middle Ages.

(55) CRWWI; CRWWII, passim.

(56) Bailey, 'Sand into Gold', p. 52.

(57) Bailey, 'Sand into Gold', p. 54.

(58) CRWWI; CRWWII. There are three women with the name Olivia Cranmer in Lock's index. One, the Olivia Cranmer, whose death is recorded in the Walsham court session of 1327 (CRWWI, p. 103), can be clearly distinguished. The other two women whom Lock records as sharing this name pose a somewhat more complicated matter, which I discuss in Appendix 1: Olivia Cranmer. Regardless of this, it remains that there was an Olivia Cranmer who was very active in the Walsham land market, and it is these experiences which form the basis of this analysis. The difficulties of reconstructing families from court roll evidence are explored in Judith M. Bennett, 'Spouses, Siblings and Surnames: Reconstructing Families from Medieval Village Court Rolls', Journal of British Studies, 23.1 (1983), 26-46.

(59) As outlined in Appendix 1: Olivia Cranmer, I have merged the entries for both these women into one: CRWWI, pp. 216, 222, 299, 304, 326, 330, 331; CRWWII, pp. 37, 38, 41, 43, 44, 68, 84, 85, 88, 118, 122, 123, 133, 180, 182, and 188. These entries are, at times, the continuation of a single matter from one court to the next. For fealty, see CRWWII, pp. 38, 122.

(60) CRWWI, p. 216: 'Olivia the daughter of William of Cranmer pays 2s.8d. childwyte, because she gave birth out of wedlock.' See, too, CRWWI, p. 222: 'Alice the daughter of William of Cranmer the younger pays 6s.8d. fine, for leave to marry William Cook, pledge the hayward. Olivia the daughter of the same William [Cranmer], has leave to marry Robert the son of William Hawys, fine waived.' Lock also refers to a margin entry which notes that 'Alice's fine reduced from 10s. to 6s.8d., and Olivia's from 10s. to nil.'

(61) CRWWI, pp. 321, 326.

(62) CRWWI, p. 326. The court rolls do not indicate that Hilary is married at this time, and it is also possible that Olivia is no longer married. For details concerning Hilary, see Appendix 2: Hilary Cranmer.

(63) On mobility within the contexts of gender and landscape for northern England, see Kathleen M. Troup, Daily Mobility and Social Interaction among Peasants on the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, 1274-1323 (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Western Australia, 1995), Ch. 6: 'The Effects of Gender and Landscape upon Peasant Activity'.

(64) CRWWII, p. 133.

(65) CRWWII, pp. 43, 88.

(66) CRWWII, p. 123.

(67) CRWWI, p. 60. Lock notes: 'Inheritance was partible in both Walsham manors.'

(68) H. E. Hallam, 'Social Structure', in The Agrarian History of England and Wales: Volume 2, 1042-1350, ed. H. E. Hallam, gen. ed. Joan Thirsk, 8 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 594-620 (p. 603).

(69) For work on the impact of the plague on rural society, see, for example, John Hatcher, 'England in the Aftermath of the Black Death', Past and Present, 144 (1994), 3-35; and Sandy Bardsley, 'Women's Work Reconsidered: Gender and Wage Differentiation in Late Medieval England', Past and Present, 165 (1999), 3-29. Further analysis of any shifts in the structures of rural society in Walsham after the plague is outside the bounds of this essay.

(70) CRWWII, pp. 83-84.

(71) CRWWII, p. 84. See too, Muller, 'A Divided Class?', p. 123. Muller uses this example to consider the relationship between husbands and their wives.

(72) CRWWII, p. 84.

(73) CRWWII, p. 106. The final word in this entry is 'John', with Lock noting the roll is damaged. There is, of course, the possibility that this 'John' is the father, John Margery, and he could also have been a party to this entry.

(74) CRWWII, p. 136.

(75) CRWWII, p. 134. The entry immediately preceding this one reads: 'A day was given to William Hawys, plaintiff, and John Margery [2], defendant, in a plea of trespass, to come [to the next court], without essoin.'

(76) On women's marital status, see Judith M. Bennett and Amy M. Froide, eds, Single-women in the European Past, 1250-1800 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999); Mavis E. Mate, Daughters, Wives, and Widows after the Black Death: Women in Sussex, 1350-1535 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1998); See too, Judith M. Bennett, Women in the Medieval English Countryside: Gender andHousehold in Brigstock before the Plague (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 176. Bennett notes: 'Widows were, in short, the most publicly active of all women in the medieval countryside.'

(77) On power and authority, see Judith M. Bennett, 'Public Power and Authority in the Medieval English Countryside', in Women and Power in the Middle Ages, eds Mary Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988), pp. 18-36.

(78) Roberta Gilchrist, Gender and Archaeology: Contesting the Past (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 116, citing Hanawalt, The Ties That Bound, referring to evidence drawn from coroners' inquests and manorial court rolls.

(79) CRWWI, p. 84.

(80) CRWWI, pp. 31, 33, 35, 45, 50, 56, 76, 84, 85, 103, 179, 185, 195, 207, 220, 230.

(81) CRWWI, p. 31

(82) On pledging, see Martin Pimsler, 'Solidarity in the Medieval Village? The Evidence of Personal Pledging at Elton, Huntingdonshire', Journal of British Studies, 17.1 (1977), 1-11; and David Postles, 'Personal Pledging: Medieval "Reciprocity" or "Symbolic Capital"?', Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 26.3 (1996), 419-35.

(83) CRWWI, pp 35, 56, 84, 85, 195, 207, 220.

(84) CRWWI, pp. 229-30.

(85) CRWWII, p. 41.

(86) CRWWII, p. 118.

(87) On ploughing and the symbolic associations of ploughing in this period, see Michael Camille, 'Labouring for the Lord: The Ploughman and the Social Order in the Luttrell Psalter', Art History, 10.4 (1987), 423-54. Ploughing was not, however, a male task without exception. See Judith M. Bennett, 'Medieval Peasant Marriage: An Examination of Marriage License Fines in the Liber Gersumarum', in Pathways to Medieval Peasants, ed. J. A. Raftis, Papers in Mediaeval Studies, 2 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1981), pp. 193-246, citing R. H. Hilton, The Economic Development of Some Leicestershire Estates in the 14th and 15th Centuries, Oxford Historical Series, 17 (Oxford: 1947), pp. 145-46. Bennett notes: 'We know that, in some cases, women took part as wage-labourers in almost every aspect of agricultural work; Hilton found women being paid in manorial accounts for road repair, manuring, thatching, sheep-shearing, weeding, mowing, ploughing, and transporting corn' (p. 207).

(88) Michael Camille, 'When Adam Delved: Laboring on the Land in English Medieval Art', in Agriculture in the Middle Ages: Technology, Practice and Representation, ed. Del Sweeney (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), pp. 247-76 (p. 249).

(89) 'The "Hungry Gap," Crop Failure, and Famine: The Fourteenth-Century Agricultural Crisis and Piers Plowman', in Agriculture in the Middle Ages, ed. Sweeney, pp. 227-43 (pp. 227-28), citing A. V. C. Schmidt, ed., William Langland the Vision of Piers Plowman: A Complete Edition of the B-Text (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1978) (B.6.17).

(90) 'The "Hungry Gap"', p. 228.

(91) 'The "Hungry Gap"', p. 228.

(92) Bruce M. S. Campbell, 'Ecology Versus Economics in Late Thirteenth- and Early Fourteenth-Century English Agriculture', in Agriculture in the Middle Ages, ed. Sweeney, pp. 76-108 (p. 76).

(93) CRWWI, pp. 30-92.

(94) CRWWI, pp. 44-49, 49-54, 55-59, 59-63. On mortality rates during the famine, see Ian Kershaw, 'The Great Famine and Agrarian Crisis in England 1315-1322', Past and Present, 59 (1973), 3-50, citing M. M. Postan and J. Z. Titow, 'Heriots and Prices on Winchester Manors', Economic History Review, 2nd ser., XI (1958-59), 392-411 (pp. 399, 407). Kershaw argues: 'There is very little evidence on which to base an estimate of mortalities during the famine years. The rise in the number of heriots paid on a group of Winchester manors, particularly those paid by the near-landless, indicates a crude death-rate approaching 10 per cent in the famine years' (p. 11).

(95) CRWWI, p. 51. Agnes' mother, Catherine Goche, survives Adam and is summonsed at later court sessions 'to do that which she should concerning custody of Adam's heir and his land' (p. 71). Catherine eventually pays a marriage fine at the September 1318 Walsham court, to marry Simon Peyntour (p. 75). On custody of children, see Elaine Clark, 'The Custody of Children in English Manor Courts', Law and History Review, 3.2 (1985), 333-48.

(96) CRWWI, p. 133.

(97) CRWWI, p. 133. For example, Peter Warde's death was recorded in the Walsham session of October 1316, with his sons Robert and William named as the nearest heirs. Robert receives his inheritance in December 1329. No mention is made of William receiving his inheritance, but in the Walsham court session of June 1329 (p. 125), William surrenders half an acre of land, showing he, too, was in possession of land.

(98) CRWWI, p. 47.

(99) CRWWI, p. 133.

(100) CRWWI, p. 107.

(101) CRWWII, p. 133.

(102) CRWWI, p. 84.

(103) CRWWI, p. 133.

Sally Fisher

School of Historical Studies

University of Melbourne

Aspects of this paper were presented at the 2007 ANZAMEMS conference and I am grateful for funding from the ARC Network for Early European Research to attend this conference. This essay is drawn from my MA thesis (University of Melbourne), which was supported by an APA. I thank the examiners of the thesis for their comments. I also thank Parergon's anonymous readers for their helpful comments, and Dr Megan Cassidy-Welch for her advice in developing this essay.
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