Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Neighbourhood and the Community

For discussion:

1. ‘There are very serious problems involved in regarding the parish as defining the boundaries of the “local community” in early modern England’. Discuss.

2. To what extent were the neighbourhoods of early modern England ‘moral communities, founded upon the expectation of adherence to conventional standards of both public and private behaviour’?

3. Why do we hear so much about socio-cultural conflicts in early seventeenth-century England and so little about them in the early eighteenth century?

4. Are there any satisfactory methods of measuring the level of social conflict in early modern England?

Introductory Surveys:

Wrightson, K.E. English Society, 1580-1680 (London, 1982), pp.39-65.

Wrightson, Keith. ‘The Politics of the Parish in Early Modern England’, in Paul Griffiths, Adam Fox & Steve Hindle (eds), The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England (London, 1996), pp.10-46.

Detailed Studies:

Bossy, John. ‘Blood and Baptism: Kinship, Community and Christianity in Western Europe from the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth Centuries’, in Derek Baker (ed.), Sanctity and Secularity: The Church and the World (Studies in Church History 10, Oxford, 1973), pp.129-43.

Macfarlane, Alan. Reconstructing Historical Communities (Cambridge, 1977), ch.1.

Ingram, Martin. ‘Communities and Courts: Law and Disorder in Early-Seventeenth-Century Wiltshire’, in J.S. Cockburn (ed.), Crime in England, 1550-1800 (London, 1977), pp.110-34.

Wrightson, Keith & Levine. Poverty & Piety in an English Village: Terling, 1525-1700 (New York, 1979; Oxford, 1995), chs.4-5.

Wrightson, Keith. ‘Two Concepts of Order: Justices, Constables and Jurymen in Seventeenth-Century England’, in John Brewer and John Styles (eds), An Ungovernable People: The English and Their Law in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (London, 1980), pp.21-46.

Bossy, John. ‘Some Elementary Forms of Durkheim’, Past & Present 95 (May 1982), 3-18.

Sharpe, J.A. ‘“Such Disagreement betwyx Neighbours”: Litigation and Human Relations in Early Modern England’, in John Bossy (ed.), Disputes and Settlements: Law and Human Relations in the West (Cambridge, 1983), pp.167-87.

Bossy, John (ed.). Disputes and Settlements: Law and Human Relations in the West (Cambridge, 1983).

Smith, R.M. ‘“Modernization” and the Corporate Medieval Village Community in England: Some Sceptical Reflections’, in A.H.R. Baker & Derek Gregory (eds.), Explorations in Historical Geography (Cambridge, 1984), pp.140-79.

Bossy, John. Christianity in the West, 1400-1700 (Oxford, 1985), chs.4, 7 & 8.

Stone, Lawrence. ‘Debate: The History of Violence in England, A Rejoinder’, Past & Present 108 (August 1985), 216-24.

Sharpe, J.A. ‘Debate: The History of Violence in England, Some Observations’, Past & Present 108 (August 1985), 206-15.

Bossy, John. ‘Moral Arithmetic: Seven Sins into Ten Commandments’, in Edmund Leites (ed.), Conscience and Casuistry in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1988), pp.214-34.

Rosser, Gervase. ‘Communities of Parish and Guild in the Late Middle Ages’, in S.J. Wright (ed.), Parish, Church and People: Local Studies in Lay Religion, 1350-1750 (London, 1988), pp.29-55.

Heal, Felicity. Hospitality in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1990), chs.3, 9 & 10.

Gregory, Annabel. ‘Witchcraft, Politics and Good ‘Neighbourhood’ in Early Seventeenth Century Rye’, Past & Present 133 (November 1991), 31-66.

Collinson, Patrick. ‘The Cohabitation of the Faithful with the Unfaithful’, in O.P. Grell, J.I. Israel & N. Tyacke (eds.), From Persecution to Toleration: The Glorious Revolution and Religion in England (Oxford, 1991), pp.51-76.

Shoemaker, R.B. Prosecution and Punishment: Petty Crime and the Law in London and Rural Middlesex, c.1660-1725 (Cambridge, 1991), chs.4-5.

Levine, David & Wrightson, Keith. The Making of an Industrial Society: Whickham, 1560-1765 (Oxford, 1991), chs.4.1-4.4.

McIntosh, Marjorie K. A Community Transformed: The Manor and Liberty of Havering, 1500-1620 (Cambridge, 1991), chs.3 & 6.

Bennett, Judith M. ‘Conviviality and Charity in Medieval and Early Modern England’, Past & Present 134 (February 1992), 19-41.

Bushaway, R.W. ‘Rite, Legitimation and Community in Sothern England, 1700-1850: The Ideology of Custom’, in Barry Stapleton (ed.), Conflict and Community in Southern England: Essays in the History of Rural and Urban Labour From Medieval to Modern Times (Gloucester, 1992), pp.110-34.

Muldrew, Craig. ‘Credit and the Courts: Debt Litigation in a Seventeenth-Century Urban Community’, Economic History Review 2nd ser. 46:1 (1993), 23-38.

Muldrew, Craig. ‘Interpreting the Market: The Ethics of Credit and Community Relations in Early Modern England’, Social History 18:2 (May 1993), 163-83.

McRee, Ben R. ‘Charity and Gild Solidarity in Late Medieval England’, Journal of British Studies 32 (July 1993), 195-25.

Carpenter, Christine. ‘Gentry and Community in Medieval England’, Journal of British Studies 33 (October 1994), 340-80.

Dyer, Christopher. ‘The English Medieval Village Community and Its Decline’, Journal of British Studies 33 (October 1994), 407-29.

DeWindt, Anne Rieber. ‘Witchcraft and Conflicting Visions of the Ideal Village Community’, Journal of British Studies 34 (October 1995), 427-63.

Hindle, Steve. ‘The Keeping of the Public Peace’, in Paul Griffiths, Adam Fox & Steve Hindle (eds), The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England (London, 1996), pp.213-48.

Muldrew, Craig. ‘The Culture of Reconciliation: Community and the Settlement of Economic Disputes in Early Modern England’, Historical Journal 39:4 (1996), 915-42.

Hunt, Arnold. ‘The Lord’s Supper in Early Modern England’, Past & Present 161 (November 1998), 39-83.

Kumin, Beat. The Shaping of a Community: The Rise and Reformation of the English Parish, c.1400-1560 (Aldershot, 1996).

Kumin, Beat. ‘The Fear of Intrusion: Communal Resilience in Eartly Modern England’, in William G. Naphy & Penny Roberts (eds.), Fear in Early Modern Society (Manchester, 1997), pp.118-36.

Hunt, Arnold. ‘The Lord’s Supper in Early Modern England’, Past & Present 161 (November 1998), 39-83.

Hindle, Steve. ‘Hierarchy and Community in the Elizabethan Parish: The Swallowfield Articles of 1596’, Historical Journal 42:3 (1999), 835-51.

Hindle, Steve. ‘A Sense of Place? Becoming and Belonging in the Rural Parish, 1550-1650’, in Alexandra Shepard and Phil Withington (eds), Communities in Early Modern England (Manchester, 2000), pp.96-114.

Hindle, Steve. The State and Social Change in Early Modern England, c.1550-1640 (London, 2000), pp.204-30.

Haigh, Christopher. ‘Communion and Community: Exclusion from Communion in Post-Reformation England’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 51:4 (2000), 699-720.

Marsh, Christopher. ‘”Common Prayer” in England, 1560-1640: The View From the Pew’, Past & Present 171 (May 2001), 66-94.

Marsh, Christopher. ‘Sacred Space in England, 1560-1640: The View from the Pew’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 53:2 (April 2002), 286-311.

Capp, Bernard, ‘Life, Love and Litigation: Sileby in the 1630s’, Past and Present no.184 (2004), 55-88.

Marsh, Christopher. ‘Order and Place in England, 1580-1640: The View From the Pew’, Journal of British Studies 44 (January 2005), 3-26.

Postles, Dave. ‘The Politics of Address in Early Modern England’, Journal of Historical Sociology 18: 1-2 (March-June 2005), 99-121 [ONLINE].

Postles, Dave. Social Proprieties: Social Relations in Early Modern England (1500-1680) (Washington, DC, 2006).

Wrightson, Keith. ‘Mutualities and Obligations: Changing Social Relationships in Early Modern England’, Proceedings of the British Academy 139 (2006), 157-94.

Wrightson, Keith. ‘The “Decline of Neighbourliness” Revisited’, in Norman L. Jones and Daniel Woolf (eds), Local Identities in Late Medieval and Early Modern England (Basingstoke, 2007), pp.19-49.

Hindle, Steve. ‘Beating the Bounds of the Parish: Order, Memory and Identity in the English Local Community, c.1500-1700’, in Michael J. Halvorson & Karen E. Spierling (eds), Defining Community in Early Modern Europe (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2008), pp.205-27.


1. ‘Holy Neighbourliness’: Hunt (1998); Haigh (1999); Marsh (2001a/2005)

2. ‘A Culture of Reconciliation’: Sharpe (1983), Hindle (1996), Muldrew (1996)