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Monks and MarketsDurham Cathedral Priory 1460-1520$
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Miranda Threlfall-Holmes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253814

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253814.001.0001

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Price, Preference, and Purpose: Factors Influencing the Priory’s Purchasing Decisions

Price, Preference, and Purpose: Factors Influencing the Priory’s Purchasing Decisions

Chapter:
(p.75) 3 Price, Preference, and Purpose: Factors Influencing the Priory’s Purchasing Decisions
Source:
Monks and Markets
Author(s):

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253814.003.0003

This chapter focuses on how the obedientiaries' purchasing decisions were made, looking at the various factors that influenced or limited their choices and their behaviour as consumers. Three case studies illustrate the varying extent to which considerations of tradition, cost, social status, availability, and preference influenced choices in three very different commodities. Grain was a staple necessity with relatively inelastic demand, yet the priory needed strategies to cope with unreliable supply fluctuations due to the unpredictability of harvests and weather. Wine and spices, luxury imported goods, clearly show the effects of fashion and availability on the priory's purchasing. Much of the cloth bought by the priory was imbued with social significance, tangibly illustrating the social stratification and hierarchy of the monastery and of society: in some cases, this significance was the overriding factor in purchasing decisions.

Keywords:   grain, wine, spices, imported goods, cloth, consumer behaviour, purchasing, social status, inelastic demand

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