Medieval statistics

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Date / time
05/11/2021, 10:00 am - 3:30 pm

‘Medieval Statistics’ is the theme of conference organised jointly by the Royal Statistical Society and the Centre for Economic Institutions and Business History at The University of Reading

Many people believe that statistical record-keeping in England and Wales was invented by the Victorians, or by early political economists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. But statistics have been compiled by English kings since the Burghal hideage of the tenth century. The Norman and Plantagenet kings established a sophisticated system of royal accounts, and their records survive today in the National Archives. Religious institutions also compiled accounts of their income and expenditure. Many of these institutions managed large agricultural estates and the accounts of some of their stewards and bailiffs have survived, giving valuable information about commodity prices and agricultural productivity. Contracts recorded in surviving medieval legal records show the purchase prices and rents paid on property, both for agricultural land and for urban housing. Coin finds, treasure hoards and the records of the royal mints provide information on the medieval money supply. Records of disputes over unpaid debts provide information on the medieval credit market. When all of this information is synthesised, it is feasible for modern researchers to define and measure annual gross domestic product, the consumer price index, the money supply and other important performance measures for medieval England and Wales.

Online 5 November 2021 via Zoom 10.00-15.30

Confirmed speakers with timetable
10.00-10.05 Introduction by the organisers, Mark Casson and Mike Hughes
10.05-10.35 Abbey accounts, Alastair Dobie, Edge Hill University
10.35-11.05 Domesday book, James Walker, University of Reading
11.20-11.50 Urban rents and the property market, Catherine Casson, University of Manchester
11.50-12.20 Agriculture and commodity prices, Jordan Claridge, LSE
12.20-12.50 Population, John Lee, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
12.50 – 13.30 Lunch break
13.30-14.00 Money supply, Martin Allen, Fitzwilliam Museum and University of Cambridge
14.00-14.30 Credit, Tony Moore, ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading
14.30-15.00. Measuring GDP, Steve Broadberry, University of Oxford
15.00-15.25 General open discussion
15.25-15.30 Closing remarks

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