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Synopsis

This important new study examines the market trade of medieval England from a new perspective, by providing a wide-ranging critique of the moral and legal imperatives that underpinned retail trade. James Davis shows how market-goers were influenced not only by practical and economic considerations of price, quality, supply and demand, but also by the moral and cultural environment within which such deals were conducted. This book draws on a broad range of cross-disciplinary evidence, from the literary works of William Langland and the sermons of medieval preachers, to state, civic and guild laws, Davis scrutinises everyday market behaviour through case studies of small and large towns, using the evidence of manor and borough courts. From these varied sources, Davis teases out the complex relationship between morality, law and practice and demonstrates that even the influence of contemporary Christian ideology was not necessarily incompatible with efficient and profitable everyday commerce.

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