Features of a medieval village
The Medieval Village Economy: A Study of the Pareto Mapping in General Equilibrium Models by Robert M. TownsendRobert Townsend has made path- breaking contributions to contract theory and general equilibrium analysis. In this book, he combines the theory of general economic equilibrium with the notion that allocations and institutions of a given economy might be Pareto optimal to try to explain various salient features of the medieval village economy. The medieval village economy in many ways reflects the economies of poor high-risk agrarian villages of the contemporary world and serves as an ideal testing ground for Townsends theories.The environment of the medieval village resembles those of relatively simple models with such key elements as uncertainty and private information, and its institutions display distinctive features such as fragmented landholding patterns. In this book standard models of macroeconomics and the literature on contract theory and mechanism design are reinterpreted, applied, and extended. The author draws both descriptive institutional material and particular parameter values from historical observations, and characterizes solutions to the models analytically and numerically. The idea is to see whether the observed outcomes can be explained, shedding light both on the historical material and the models themselves.
Let’s design a medieval village: Introduction
During the first centuries of the Middle Ages, towns were more numerous than important, poor and with a small population. The lack of roads security hampered the development of the medieval towns, which in turn prevented the development of commerce. Except for a short revival during Charlemagne's reign, the commerce was reduced to simply exchanging the necessities of life. Each domain had to be almost self-sufficient, producing the necessary iron, wood, wool and wheat. And, without commerce there can be no large cities. The medieval towns occupied, to some extent, the sites of previous Roman colonies and municipia , while new ones emerged in the vicinity of a castle or a monastery. The revival of production and commerce taking place between the 10th and the 13th century led to a considerable increase of the population and wealth of the medieval towns, and they reached their glorious days in the second half of the 14th century.
At the time the Domesday Book was compiled in , there were only 18 towns in England with a population of over Many of these medieval towns were originally Roman towns. But what if you want to establish a new town or village. What things do you have to consider when choosing a site? It might be a good idea to position your new town or village near an existing castle. Castles are built for defence and contain knights and soldiers trained in weapons.
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Life in a medieval town A medieval town would seek a charter giving it the right to become a borough. The rich merchants would then be allowed to choose a mayor and hold a market. Houses were made of a wooden frame, with the gaps filled with woven strips of wood, known as ' wattle ', and covered, or 'daubed', with clay and horse-dung. Most roofs were thatch. Medieval shops were workshops, open to the street for customers, with the craftsman's house above.
There were few towns in Medieval England and those that existed were very small by our standards. Most people in Medieval England were village peasants but religious centres did attract people and many developed into towns or cities. That these cities were big can be explained simply because they were cathedral cities. These cities attracted all manner of people but especially traders and pilgrims. After the death of Thomas Becket in , Canterbury Cathedral became a very special place of pilgrimage visited by thousands of people each year. The Domesday Book of only included six towns in its enquiry. By the time of Medieval England, we do not have accurate figures for these towns and cities as no count was ever made of population and the figure would have changed throughout the year in all large towns and cities.