Mortgages and the English peasantry c.1250-c.1350

Briggs, CD 

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This chapter investigates the extent to which medieval English peasants mortgaged their land to secure credit. Its focus is on customary or villein land, whose holders owed servile obligations such as labour services in addition to cash rent. The chapter confirms the view, derived from the existing literature, that the employment of land or other real property as collateral was much less widespread in medieval English agrarian society than it was in this period in other regions of Continental Europe. Possible reasons for this contrast are explored, as well as its implications for financial development. It is concluded that the rarity of mortgages in the English customary landholding sector was the result of a combination of factors, connected with property rights and the strictness of the terms and conditions of most mortgages. Close investigation is also undertaken of circumstances in the small number of English communities where mortgaging is found to have been more common.

Business & Economics
Palgrave Macmillan