Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 9589
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Jones , Ernest D.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Spalding Priory Merchet Evidence from the 1250s to the1470s
  • Source: Journal of Medieval History 24, 2 (June 1998): Pages 155 - 175.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Marriage Merchet (Marriage Payment) Serfs Spalding, Lincolnshire, England- Spalding Priory
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 13- 14- 15
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table: Five Tables. Table One Merchets for Spalding, Weston, Moulton, and Pinchbeck, 1253-1478, by decades. Table Two Totals by decade of merchet payments to Spalding Priory from Spalding, Moulton, Weston and Pinchbeck, 1250s to 1470s. Table Three Merchet prices for the manors of Spalding, Weston, Moulton, and Pinchbeck from the 1360s to the 1390s. Table Four Merchet payments from Spalding, Moulton, Weston, and Pichbeck from the 1300s to the1390s from fathers, single women, husbands, and others. Table Five Widows' merchet payments as a percentage of total merchet revenue from the four manors, 1250s through 1380s. Also widows' marriages as a percentage of total marriages in the four manors 1250s through 1380s.
  • Abstract: The Myntling Register of Spalding Priory compiled around 1478 contains unrivalled information on the medieval merchet or marriage fine comprising 1548 merchets copied from the court rolls for every year from 1253 to 1477. What it shows is that, as J. Bennett pointed out in 1982, single females often gave their own merchets, and that at times they were as important as fathers both in frequency of payment and in average fine paid. For almost the entire period, however, husbands dominated in both categories. Widows' merchets were normally but not invariably paid by their husbands, and with the same proviso exceeded in price those paid by husbands for single women. The incidence of remarriage by widows seriously declined after the 1380s, both a cause and symptom of demographic decline. On the Spalding Priory estates there is strong evidence to suggest that land was a significant factor in the calculation of some merchets, but that more often it was either not an important consideration, or was one of a mixture. Due to the volume of the merchet material, and the existence of evidence on the other services redered by the Spalding serfs, further conclusions will appear in future essays.[Reprinted from the Journal of Medieval History (at http://www.elsevier.nl/locate/jmedhist), Vol.24, No.2, Jones, Ernest D., "The Spalding Priory Merchet Evidence from the 1250s to the 1470s," p. 155, 1998, with permission from Elsevier Science.]
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Western Australia
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1998.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 03044181
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: