A century of change on the Lindsey marshland : Marshchapel 1540-1640.

Maybury, Teresa

February 2011

Thesis or dissertation

© 2011 Teresa Maybury. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This is a study of how a marshland community on the north-east Lindsey coast interacted with external forces of change in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Marshchapel was chosen to be the particular focus of the study because of the wealth of available sources. The most remarkable of these is the survey of Marshchapel and its ‘parent’ village of Fulstow, which was drawn up in 1595. The survey includes an accurately drawn, detailed map of the two parishes, showing the churches and houses, the open fields with their furlongs divided into strips and the marshland where salt was still being made. There are two field books, one for each of the parishes. The owner of each furlong is named and its position described and numbered, so that it can be located by matching its number on the map. The measurement of each strip is given in acres, roods and perches and, in most cases, the tenant is named.

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw England change from a medieval to a modern society. The pressures of demographic expansion, the growth of towns, soaring inflation and religious changes had far reaching effects on the nature of English society. Change did not begin in 1540 or end in 1640; the choice of dates was influenced, to some extent, by the availability of the documents but, also, by the fact that the century neatly encompassed the period between the Reformation and the Civil War, two significant events in the history of early modern England.

The thesis begins with an overview of the early development of Marshchapel and its origin as a salt making settlement and hamlet of Fulstow, knowledge which is essential if the role of Marshchapel’s marshland environment on its version of social life is to be understood. A range of sources, including probate documents and parish registers, is used to examine the underlying economic and social structures of sixteenth and seventeenth century Marshchapel and to investigate the processes of change in this marshland community.

Department of History, The University of Hull
Ambler, R. W.; Burgess, Glenn, 1961-; Fenwick, Helen, 1972-
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