English began to be used as a second language of the court during the reign of Edward I. It saw a change in the composition of armies, with the lower ranks identifying with a national cause and responding to a call to arms and the development of near permanent taxation that made the general population investors in a national enterprise. There was also the growth of chivalric orders like that of the Garter and the increasing central role of the monarchy and parliament in English life. New religious orders began to be introduced into England in this period. The French Cluniac order became fashionable and their houses were introduced in England from the late eleventh century.
Pilgrimages were a popular religious practice throughout the Middle Ages in England. In the s several challenges emerged to the traditional teachings of the Church, resulting from the teachings of John Wycliffe , a member of Oxford University. England had a diverse geography in the medieval period, from the Fenlands of East Anglia and the heavily wooded Weald , through to the upland moors of Yorkshire. For much of the Middle Ages, England's climate differed from that in the twenty-first century.
The English economy was fundamentally agricultural , depending on growing crops such as wheat , barley and oats on an open field system , and husbanding sheep , cattle and pigs. Economic growth began to falter at the end of the thirteenth century, owing to a combination of overpopulation , land shortages and depleted soils.
Rodney Hilton and other scholars have argued that those peasants who survived famine, plague and disease, found their situation to be much improved. The period was for them a golden age of prosperity and new opportunities. Land was plentiful, wages high, and serfdom had all but disappeared. It was possible to move about and rise higher in life. Younger sons and women especially benefited. Conditions were less favourable for the great landowners. The agricultural sector shrank rapidly, with higher wages, lower prices and diminishing profits leading to the final demise of the old demesne system and the advent of the modern farming system centring on the charging of cash rents for lands.
The English cloth industry grew at the start of the fifteenth century, and a new class of international English merchants emerged, typically based in London or the South-West, prospering at the expense of the older, shrinking economies of the eastern towns. Technology and science in England advanced considerably during the Middle Ages, driven in part by the Greek and Islamic thinking that reached England from the twelfth century. The period produced some influential English scholars. Roger Bacon c. Technological advances proceeded in a range of areas.
Watermills to grind grain had existed during most of the Anglo-Saxon period, using horizontal mill designs; from the twelfth century on many more were built, eliminating the use of hand mills, with the older horizontal mills gradually supplanted by a new vertical mill design. England's maritime trade benefited from the introduction of cog ships , and many docks were improved and fitted with cranes for the first time. In the late thirteenth century Edward I expanded the familia regis , the permanent military household of the king, which was supported in war by feudal levies, drawn up by local nobles for a limited period of service during a campaign.
It formed the core of much larger armies up to 28, strong, largely comprising foot soldiers, for campaigns in Scotland and France. English fleets in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries typically comprised specialist vessels, such as galleys and large transport ships, and pressed merchant vessels conscripted into action; the latter increasingly included cogs , a new form of sailing ship. During the twelfth century the Normans had begun to build more castles in stone, with characteristic square keeps that supported both military and political functions.
By the fourteenth century, castles were combining defences with luxurious, sophisticated living arrangements and landscaped gardens and parks. A wide range of materials were used, including gold, glass and ivory, the art usually drawing overt attention to the materials utilised in the designs.
Competition from a strong French industry also eclipsed English ivory-carving. Poetry and stories written in French were popular after the Norman conquest, and by the twelfth century some works on English history began to be produced in French verse. Music and singing were important in England during the medieval period, being used in religious ceremonies, court occasions and to accompany theatrical works. By the late fourteenth century, these had been extended into vernacular mystery plays which performed annually over several days, broken up into various cycles of plays; a handful have survived into the twenty-first century.
During the twelfth century the Anglo-Norman style became richer and more ornate, with pointed arches derived from French architecture replacing the curved Romanesque designs; this style is termed Early English Gothic and continued, with variation, throughout the rest of the Middle Ages. By the fourteenth century grander houses and castles were sophisticated affairs: expensively tiled, often featuring murals and glass windows, these buildings were often designed as a set of apartments to allow greater privacy. In the sixteenth century, the first academic histories began to be written, typically drawing primarily on the chroniclers and interpreting them in the light of current political concerns.
They produced a progressive account of political and economic development in England. By the s, older historical analyses were challenged by a range of neo-positivist , Marxist and econometric approaches, supported by a widening body of documentary, archaeological and scientific evidence. Many studies focused on particular regions or groups, drawing on new records and new scientific approaches, including landscape and environmental archaeology.
The period has also been used in a wide range of popular culture. William Shakespeare 's plays on the lives of the medieval kings have proved to have had long lasting appeal, heavily influencing both popular interpretations and histories of figures such as King John and Henry V. Film-makers have drawn extensively on the medieval period, often taking themes from Shakespeare or the Robin Hood ballads for inspiration.
Tolkien 's stories of Middle-earth. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: House of Plantagenet. Main article: Second Barons' War. Main article: Edward I of England. Main article: Conquest of Wales by Edward I. Main article: First War of Scottish Independence. Main article: Edward II of England. Main article: Great Famine of — Main article: Second War of Scottish Independence. Main article: Hundred Years' War — Main article: Black Death in England. Main article: Richard II of England. Main article: Peasant's Revolt. Main article: House of Lancaster.
Main article: Henry IV of England. Main article: Henry VI of England. Main article: Wars of the Roses. Main article: House of York. Main article: Edward IV of England. Main article: Social history of the Late Middle Ages. Main article: Women in the Middle Ages. Main article: English national identity. Main article: Religion in Medieval England. Main article: Church and state in medieval Europe. Main article: Geography of England.
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