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Purveyance And Peasants At The Beginning Of The Hundred Years War: Maddicott Reexamined

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Chapter Summary

Purveyance, the system on which Edward III (1327?1377) depended for the effective victualing of his soldiers and garrisons during the Hundred Years War, readily illustrates how those required to pay for a war can easily become its victims. In his seminal 1975 essay entitled, ?The English Peasantry and the Demands of the Crown 1294?1341,? J. R. Maddicott offered one of the first comprehensive examinations of the effect of war on medieval society at large. Maddicott implied repeatedly that purveyance was simply an evil reality of a cold-hearted Edwardian administrative policy that reduced all peasants to penury or even worse. Fourteenth-century tax records indicate that only the upper echelons of peasant society, whose properties produced a significant surplus, were caught up in the purveyance web.

Keywords: Edward III; Hundred Years War; J. R. Maddicott; peasants; Purveyance; tax records



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