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The Creation of a CommunityThe City of Wells in the Middle Ages$
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David Gary Shaw

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198204015

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204015.001.0001

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The Social World Completed

The Social World Completed

Chapter:
(p.216) 7. The Social World Completed
Source:
The Creation of a Community
Author(s):

DAVID GARY SHAW

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198204015.003.0008

This chapter tries to present a complete picture of the social world of later medieval Wells, but fails to do so. It had too little to say of several groups, although they may have fitted into one or another of the major categories of society. This said, the chapter makes important additions to the world of the burgesses of the Middle Ages. They can now be seen in their essential and dynamic relationships with the foreigners from whose ranks most of them came, and in relation to the poor. Burgesses could be poor; foreigners rich. A significant minority of outsiders would one day succeed in joining the civic elite, that is, the Borough Community. However, the great majority remained socially and economically humble, if not impoverished. A large proportion of the foreigners and some of the burgesses, especially widows, poverty was a stage of life closely connected to old age or sickness.

Keywords:   Middle Ages, social world, Wells, burgesses, foreigners, Borough Community, poverty

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