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Title: English seafarer communities in the Later Middle Ages : a study in the socio-cultural economics of an occupational group
Author: Gibson, Brenna Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 7561
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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England is a country with its roots steeped in maritime history. As an island, the lives and actions of England’s mariners through time are intrinsically linked to the timeline of the country itself. This was especially so during the fourteenth century, when England’s seafarers were not only actively involved in trade, transport, and fishing, but also played a huge part in naval activities at the outbreak of the Hundred Years War. Despite their importance to the fabric of England’s society at the time, the fourteenth-century seafarer has widely been overlooked by modern-day scholars. This study aims to address this gap in the literature by constructing a snapshot of this occupational group, through research of their economic and social status, as well as their culture. An economic snapshot has been achieved by identifying individual mariners from England’s coastal counties, who were recorded in contemporary documents, and matching them with tax records. The social standing of England’s seafarers was also explored in two ways: the employment of a basket of consumables, which used wage data to observe the fluctuations in buying power throughout the century; and some case studies of individuals’ careers both at sea and on land. Furthermore, the cultural heritage and agency of the shipboard community has been explored through their choice of ship names. The results of this three-pronged study creates a prosoprographical snapshot of this occupational group: the socio-economic study shows that the factors affecting seafarers in the fourteenth century were many and varied, including famine, distance from the continent, disease, war, and availability of resources; while the cultural study opens up the discussion of what kinds of choices the shipboard community was making and what these choices can tell us about what was considered important to them.
Supervisor: Paul, Helen ; Woolgar, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available