Europe: Early Modern and Modern 299 lurking in Western culture, an uncertainty about the successful gentry landowners were those who chose to meaning of whiteness, and an anxious search for self in farm out their holdings rather than rely on ﬁxed rents. the industrial age (255). Robinson has written a lively and The topic of “new wealth” and “new blood” (the latter ex- signiﬁcant work that contributes to our understanding pression is mine, not Brown’s) is pursued further in chap- of the history of imperialism, science, and the modern ter 5. Here, Brown considers the rise of new urban mer- world. cantile families (in particular, Newcastle merchants), who ANDREW EVANS made their fortune from their investments in coal mines State University of New York at New Paltz as well as from trade. Another group on the rise was new dynasties of married clergy that accumulated landed prop- erties through both ownership and leasehold. In chapters A. T. BROWN. Rural Society and Economic Change in 6 and 7, Brown returns to the fortunes of the two ecclesi- County Durham: Recession and Recovery, c. 1400–1640. astical institutions (the bishopric and the dean and chap- Rochester, N.Y.: Boydell Press, 2015. Pp. xv, 288. ter) in the period 1540–1640. The dean and chapter es- $99.00. tates were leased out in twenty-one-year contracts, and In Rural Society and Economic Change,A. T. Brown has the leased holdings were characterized by equality, which written a wonderful book that should be considered a ma- was a product of careful land regulation and investment jor contribution on several levels. The study deals with the by the dean and chapter. By contrast, the lands of the bish- parallel development of major ecclesiastical and lay lords opric were held in both leasehold and copyhold and were in County Durham. But this is much more than a merely marked by a pronounced inequality between wealthy yeo- regional study: Brown tackles here a series of long- men (the village elite) and poor tenants. standing historiographical debates and controversies, and To the joy of many social and economic historians, the thus makes his ﬁndings and conclusions applicable to book is furnished with statistics, summarized in nineteen other regions. But perhaps the most unique aspect of his ﬁgures and thirty-two tables, all presented in a very clear book is that it breaks the traditional chronological bound- manner. Apart from amassing and analyzing vast statistical aries of “late medieval” and “early modern” periods, still data, Brown did a great job of telling a clear and convincing strongly prevalent in the ﬁeld of English social and eco- story that would be of interest to a more general audience nomic history. Instead, Brown tells a longue dure ´e yet ﬁne- of scholars working on late medieval and early modern En- tuned story of Durham Cathedral Priory and Durham gland. Furthermore, the author engages with some long- Bishopric, stretching all the way from 1400 to 1640. standing conceptual and historiographical debates, includ- In his introduction, Brown introduces the reader to the ing those on “the rise of the gentry” (explored by R. H. concept of “path dependency”—the institutional ability Tawney), “the crisis of the aristocracy” (Lawrence Stone), to make a decision or a series of decisions that would de- “the myth of the peasantry” (Alan MacFarlane), and termine economic outcome in a long run. For Brown, “agrarian class structure” (Robert Brenner), but also more “path dependency” is one of the great pillars of economic recent frameworks proposed by economic and social histo- development, alongside other pillars such as demogra- rians of late medieval and early modern England. phy, class relationships, and commercialization. This idea To sum up: This is an important and innovative study guides Brown throughout the entire book. that adds nicely to the ever-growing corpus of literature Chapter 1 looks at the parallel fortunes of two institu- on preindustrial economic development in England. Its tions in the course of the “long” ﬁfteenth century: Dur- reliance on hard-won data, the clarity of its argument, ham Bishopric and Durham Cathedral Priory. The priory and its innovative concepts will certainly ensure its well- derived its income from rents in kind and from leasing of deserved place among other high-quality books on eco- entire manors to their better-off manorial tenants. The nomic and social history. bishop, conversely, adopted a different strategy, whereby PHILIP SLAVIN he focused on leasing of coal mines and developing for- University of Kent ests, while tenants were holding their lands in ﬁxed copy- hold tenure. Chapter 2 carries the story into the “long” SASHA HANDLEY. Sleep in Early Modern England.New sixteenth century and stresses the differences in fortunes Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2016. Pp. xii, 280. between the two institutions during the Price Revolution $65.00. of the Reformation era. The former Cathedral Priory, now converted into dean and chapter, coped with the Scientiﬁc and medical research has revealed that sleep is new situation by charging new tenants high entry fees, anything but a passive state. Though we may largely lie while the bishop had to bear the consequences of his pre- immobile and insensate at night, our sleeping brains re- Reformation policy of ﬁxing the rent values for some sev- main hives of activity. Any EEG readout will tell you that enty years. Chapter 3 considers the decline of two sub- the brain is in a state of ﬂux throughout the night, from stantial lords, the Earl of Westmorland and Lord Lumley, the long, slow waves of deep sleep to the frantic scrib- whose extensive estates were acquired by the members of blings etched out during REM sleep. Behind all this elec- the gentry, made up primarily of wealthy urban mer- trical activity, sleep busily attends to such diverse pro- chants, who invested heavily in rural properties. cesses as memory consolidation, synaptic pruning, and The accumulation of landed estates by the gentry is the the cleansing of neurotoxins. subject of chapter 4. Here, Brown shows that the most A small group of recent studies have shown that sleep is AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW FEBRUARY 2018 Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ahr/article-abstract/123/1/299/4840372 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018
The American Historical Review – Oxford University Press
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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