T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
School of Graduate Studies - Theses >
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title: ||Feeding the Brethren: Grain Provisioning of Norwich Cathedral Priory, c. 1280-1370|
|Authors: ||Slavin, Philip|
|Advisor: ||Goering, Joseph|
|Department: ||Medieval Studies|
|Keywords: ||Late-Medieval England|
History of Food
Norwich Cathedral Priory
|Issue Date: ||26-Feb-2009|
|Abstract: ||The present dissertation attempts to follow and analyze each and every individual
stage of food provisioning of a late medieval monastic community.
Chapter One is an introductory survey, describing the topic, its status quaestionis,
problems and methodology.
Chapter Two establishes the geography of crops in the rural hinterland of
Norwich, with each manor specializing in different crop. A close analysis of the crop
geography partially supports the Von Thünen thesis.
Chapter Three looks at the agricultural trends of the demesnes. Roughly speaking,
the period between c. 1290 and 1370 was a history of wheat’s expansion at the expense
of rye, on the one hand, and legume shrinkage at the expense of grazing land.
Chapter Four discusses annual grain acquisition, its components and disposal. It
shows that about eighty per cent of the total supply derived from harvest, while the
remainder came in form of tithes, grants and purchases.
Chapter Five deals with the human and equine interaction. The bovine population
was certainly dominant, but the draught horses easily outnumbered the oxen. Each year,the Priory authorities saved a great deal of money, because of (virtually) free customary
Chapter Six explores the space for storing and processing of the annual grain
supply. The five adjacent buildings, namely the Great Granary, brewery, bakery, mill and
staples, allowed most effective cooperation between dozens of Priory labourers working
in victual departments, on the one hand, and decreased transportation costs.
Chapter Seven attempts to establish the relation between the Priory population, its
annual grain supply and demand. Conversion of the grain into approximate calorific and
financial equivalent reveals that the supply must have exceeded the demand.
Chapter Eight is deals with the actual consumption of the grain supply. As far as
Norwich monks are concerned, their annual bread and ale supply has certainly exceeded
their normal requirements and there is no hint about selling the surplus. Joining the bread
and ale accounts with those of the cellar, we arrive at astonishing calorific figures.
Chapter Nine discusses the charity activities of Norwich Priory, particularly
connected to the distribution of bread and ale among the needy. There were three
distinctive groups: hermits, prisoners and paupers. According to almoner’s accounts, the
Priory allocated generous sums of loaves and ale to the paupers.|
|Appears in Collections:||Doctoral|
Centre for Medieval Studies - Doctoral theses
Items in T-Space are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.