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Medieval Artisans: An Urban Class in Late Medieval England

ISBN: 9780631161615
Publisher: Blackwell Pub
Publication Date: 1989-08
Number of pages: 259
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Examining the victualling, textile, clothing, leather, metal work and building, trades, this work sets out to show how the artisans of medieval England fared in urban society, under the mercantile oligarchy. The first part of the book looks at specific trades. It attempts to show how diverse the different trades were and the crucial and previously undervalued role women played in every form of manufacture. The second part focuses on the place of the artisans in urban society, especially their relationship to the merchant class. The author describes how typically a mercantile oligarchy manipulated by means of a closed elite, the crafts guilds and gained control of the town's administrative and judicial processes. Yet, as she demonstrates, the urban decline of the late middle ages paradoxically offered artisans the greatest prospect to encroach on the merchants' formidable political power.

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