This volume provides a readable and authoritative account of the history of the British Isles from the Norman Conquest of England, to the eve of the Welsh against Edward I in 1282. At the beginning of the period, much of Britain belonged, as did Ireland, to the Vikings. The transformation of the archipelago by the end of this period is explored and explained in this volume. Six sharply focused chapters consider the fundamental changes that occurred in this period: the changing political and social structure and the adaptability of the aristocracy instrumental in these changes; the reforms that affected the ecclesiastical landscape; and the effects on economic life of the growth of a monetised economy. The influence of the natural environment and communications on life in medieval times are discussed in the Introduction. The approach is comparative, bringing out both the sharp contrasts between the experience of the several parts of the British Isles and the similarities. With chapters contributed by a team of experts, Harvey explores the interactions between the parts of the British Isles to provide a clear and incisive history of this fascinating period.
Barbara Harvey was formerly a Fellow and Tutor at Somerville College, Oxford, where she taught Medieval History, and is now an Emeritus Fellow of the College. Her book, 'Living and Dying in England, 1100-1540: The Monastic Experience' was joint winner of the Wolfson Prize for History in 1993.