History 367 Society and Ideas in Shakespeare’s England

David des Granges, The Saltonstall Family 1637/9

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David des Granges, The Saltonstall Family 1637/9

Affection for Children? The Peacham/ Longleat Manuscript

The Peacham/ Longleat Manuscript; Titus Andronicus?; 1595?

A Revolution in Family Life?: Criticisms

  • Stone’s overlapping periods make his thesis difficult to pin down, or refute; patriarchalist ideas predated the Reformation; Protestantism/ puritanism contributed little to thinking about the family; claim that people lacked affection for spouses/ children hard to sustain; romantic love in Romeo and Juliet; marriages as property transactions - applies only to rich; Stone links lack of affection to high mortality – but mortality remained high in early eighteenth century.

An alternative view: Alan Macfarlane and unchanging marriage

  • Alan Macfarlane, Marriage and Love in England: modes of reproduction 1300-1840, 1986:

  • Affection between spouses, and between parents and children, was common throughout.

  • Parents tried to influence their children’s marriage choices, but marriages resulted from affection except among the really rich, where property was important.

  • Economics did matter; people got married only when they could afford to (does not explain late-1600s escape from Malthusian trap).

The Economy

  • 1500s: population doubled; food prices increased fivefold.

  • 1500-1700: London’s population increased tenfold: 50,000 to 500,000.

  • London created a massive market for goods and food of all kinds.

  • The London market turned the English economy from a series of regional economies into a national economy.

The Growth of London: cultural consequences

  • The growth of London has cultural effects, helping to create a unified national political and cultural system.

  • Nobles / gentry commonly bought a house in London, spent part of the year there, and visited bookshops and the theater.

  • James I and Charles I tried to stop the gentry spending time in London, without effect.

  • The printing press was overwhelmingly concentrated in London.

Hollar: London 1647

Hollar: London 1647 (Note the Globe; 1599-1613; rebuilt 1614)

London and Publishing

  • Publishing on a small scale also took place in Dublin, Oxford and Cambridge; but the provincial press only became active late in the seventeenth century.

  • Printed newspapers began in the 1620s, and circulated throughout the country.

  • Censorship existed but was not always effective and largely broke down in the 1640s/ 50s; it was renewed at the Restoration (to 1696).

John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644

London, politics and culture

  • Gentlemen who visited and then left London sometimes kept in touch with news there by hiring people to send them manuscript newsletters (e.g. Ralph Starkey);

  • It was difficult to censor manuscripts.

  • The growth of London, and the presence there of parliament, helped create a national political culture (as well as a national literature and economy).

Agriculture 01

  • Rising food prices stimulated the search for improved food production.

  • Many innovations (or improvements; “innovation” was generally considered bad, in contrast with today) were imported from the Netherlands.

  • Water meadows (trenches cut from rivers).

  • Up-and-down husbandry.

  • Crop rotation; reduced need to leave land fallow.

Water Meadow, Harnham near Salisbury, Wiltshire

Agriculture 02

  • Introduction, or increasing use of: clover, turnips, onions, cabbages, tobacco, and potato.

  • Tobacco smoking common by 1604, when James I violently attacked it in print; later tobacco growing was forbidden in England and confined to Virginia.

  • The potato did not become common until the eighteenth century, though introduced earlier; Sir Walter Ralegh may have introduced it into Ireland (but not England).

Agriculture 03

  • Improvements: burnt lime; sea sand; sea weed.

  • Farming of marginal land.

  • Draining of the Fens (marshy land in East Anglia) 1630s-50s; Sir Cornelius Vermuyden.

  • Enclosure of open fields, and of common lands.

  • Early enclosure resulted from depopulation through Black Death, and was of arable land for pasture.

Drain built in 1630s in Cambridgeshire by Cornelius Vermudyen (1595-1677)

Agriculture 04

  • Sir Thomas More (Utopia 1516) complained that sheep were eating up men in enclosure.

  • Sixteenth century governments tried to combat enclosure, believing it led to depopulation and military weakness.

  • By the early seventeenth century, it was recognized that overpopulation (not underpopulation) was the problem; emigration to Virginia was encouraged.

Robert Gray, A Good Speed to Virginia, 1609

Agriculture 05

  • By the mid-seventeenth century governments had ceased to concern themselves with enclosure.

  • In the late-seventeenth century, England ceased to be a grain-importing country and became a grain-exporting one.

  • Agricultural improvements stimulated economic prosperity, and helped create a large market for industrial goods, fueling the Industrial Revolution.

Agriculture 06

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