Waifs and strays: Property rights in late medieval England


Claridge, Jordan ; Gibbs, Spike


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/jbr.2021.125
URL: https://madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/61394
Additional URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of...
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-613942
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2022
The title of a journal, publication series: Journal of British Studies : JBS
Volume: 61
Issue number: 1
Page range: 50-82
Place of publication: New York, NY
Publishing house: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0021-9371 , 1545-6986
Related URLs:
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Wirtschaftsgeschichte des Mittelalters (Juniorprofessur) (Gibbs 2022-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 330 Economics
900 History
Abstract: This article provides new insights into long-standing debates on lord-tenant relations in medieval England and how they were negotiated through the manorial court. We examine an institution, which we term the stray system, that facilitated cooperation between lords and tenants to manage stray livestock. Specifically, we argue that the stray system is a clear example of a public good. In this context, the system was a social benefit provided by lords to their tenants as a collective. In a world where most of the population was dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, any potential damage to a crop would have been of real concern. However, in managing the threat of wandering livestock, the property rights of owners had to be clearly protected to avoid disputes over ownership. The manorial court's management of strays provided an institution to resolve these countervailing pressures. Ultimately, that system helped to protect a community's arable land—the most vital source of income for lords and tenants alike—while simultaneously assuring the property rights of those who had lost important capital assets in the form of livestock.
Additional information: Online-Ressource

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