The Economic History Review

Estimating arable output using Durham Priory tithe receipts, 1341–1450

Volume 57 Issue 2
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Pages: 245-285Authors: BEN DODDS
Published online: November 1, 2004DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0289.2004.00278.x

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Research on English late medieval economic history has neglected the evidence of tithes as indicators of agrarian output. In this article, methods used by historians of continental Europe have been developed and applied to the Durham Priory accounting material in order to create the first series of tithe-based production indicators for medieval England. The data are manipulated, and presented, to provide insight into long- and short-term trends in aggregate levels of arable production. The series of indicators are then used to examine the evidence for falling output in the late middle ages in the light of our understanding of demographic, economic, and climatic factors.