English Life and Manners in the Later Middle Ages

By A. Abram | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
LIFE AMONGST THE ARISTOCRACY

LOVE of show and magnificence was a feeling which pervaded society in the Middle Ages, and manifested itself in all kinds of ways. It may be seen in the pageants which graced civic rejoicings, and in the rites and ceremonies of various orders of knighthood. It can even be traced in the elaborate ritual of the Church, enhanced by music and singing. Perpendicular architecture, the most showy of all Gothic styles, is an embodiment of it. Chroniclers reflect the spirit of the Age in the evident pleasure they take in describing feasts and tournaments: they often pay more attention to them than to subjects which later historians might consider far more important. The Aristocracy, perhaps, exhibited this characteristic more fully than other classes, because they had more opportunity for display. A funeral does not suggest itself to us as a suitable occasion for show, but it was solemnized with great pomp in those days. No less than one hundred and sixty persons (apparently members of Sir John Howard's household) went into mourning for Catherine, Lady Howard, and the quantity of food which was provided for the guests at the funeral was enormous. It included two great boars, twelve great oxen, forty sheep, twelve hogs,

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English Life and Manners in the Later Middle Ages
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xiii
  • Abbreviations Used in the References xv
  • Chapter I- Social Classes 1
  • Chapter II- Life Amongst the Aristocracy 9
  • Chapter III- Characteristics of Town Life 18
  • Chapter IV- The Position of Women 31
  • Chapter V- The Church and the Nation 46
  • Chapter VI- Some Aspects of Monastic Life 62
  • Chapter VII- Business Life 80
  • Chapter VIII- The Unemployed 95
  • Chapter IX- Aliens in England 103
  • Chapter X- Family Life 113
  • Chapter XI- "Mete and Drinke" 134
  • Chapter XII- The Mirror of Fashion 152
  • Chapter XIII- Houses 173
  • Chapter XIV- Public Health 190
  • Chapter XV- Education 204
  • Chapter XVI- Amusements 230
  • Chapter XVII- Travelling 248
  • Chapter XVIII- National Character 260
  • Appendix Authorities 284
  • Index 337
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