A World of Individuals

  • David Gary Shaw
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


It has been a common feature of medieval urban histories to conclude, typically in an appendix, with brief notes on individuals, listing the bare bones of the documentary evidence. It was not always clear what the purpose of these was, possibly help to the local antiquarians keen on family history or for future biographers or prosopographers, with large computers and high hopes. Regardless of intention, it captured the essence of the social history of previous decades, in which the individual was something of an afterthought. At any rate, this chapter, a culmination of this book in many ways, is their descendant, bred, however, to take the individuals and the notions they lived by, more seriously. Yet, here is the problem from which we started: the difficulty of scraping up the medieval individual. The meaning of individual has now changed and become a kind of dialogue of self and world as the social self, but the problem remains and we should remind ourselves with the limiting case of Cecily Pontefract.


Fifteenth Century High Street Parish Church Real Estate Portfolio Medieval Town 
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© David Gary Shaw 2005

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  • David Gary Shaw

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