Professor Chris Dyer

Chris DyerEmeritus Professor of History

Contact Details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2765
  • Email:
  • Office: Room 13, Marc Fitch House, Salisbury Road

Research Interests

Past Research Interests

The economic and social history of medieval England, which includes the management of  landed estates, agrarian history, peasant mentality and rebellion, standards of living (including diet and housing), consumers and consumption, relations between town and country, the role of towns, especially of smaller towns, the conditions and attitudes of wage earners, poverty, the origins of capitalism, landscape history, rural depopulation, and money and commerce. Much of this research has been focussed on the west midland region (Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire) but has also included the east midlands,  East Anglia and Yorkshire.

Current Research Interests

The main project is to complete work on ‘Peasant farming 1200-1540’ which is being funded by the  Leverhulme Trust. This is intended to make a new assessment of the types of farming practised by peasants, and to evaluate their role in the economy.
In addition  publication of various projects in landscape history such as surveys of Admington, Compton Scorpion, Westcote and Bretford  in Warwickshire.

Publications (recent)

Authored Books

  • A Country Merchant: 1495-1520.   Trading and Farming at the End of the Middle Ages (Oxford, 2012)

Edited Books

  1. (with Matthew Tompkins), Dartmoor’s Alluring Uplands (Exeter, 2012)
  2. (with Richard Jones), Farmers, Consumers, Innovators. The world of Joan Thirsk (Hatfield, 2016), pp.1-8.
  3. (with Dawn Hadley), The Archaeology of the Eleventh Century: Continuties and Transformations. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph, 38 2017.
  4. (withErik Thoen and Tom Williamson), Peasants and Their Fields. The Rational of Open-Field Agriculture, c.700-1800 (Turnhout,2018)

Articles and Chapters

  1. ‘Poverty and its relief in late medieval England’,  Past and Present, 216 (2012), 41-78.
  2. ‘Did peasants need markets and towns? The experience of  late medieval England?’, in
    M. Davies and J. Galloway  (eds.), London and Beyond. Essays in Honour of Derek Keene (London, 2012), 25-47.
  3. ‘The experience of being poor in late medieval England’, in A. Scott (ed.), Experiences of Poverty in Late Medieval and Early Modern England and France (Farnham, 2012), 19-39.
  4. ‘Medieval peasant buildings 1250-1550: documents and historical significance’, in N. Alcock and D. Miles, The Medieval Peasant House in Midland England (Oxford, 2013), 105-18.
  5. 'The agrarian problem, 1440-1520’, in Jane Whittle (ed.),  Landlords and Tenants in Britain, 1440-1660: Tawney’s Agrarian Problem Revisited (Woodbridge, 2013), 19-34
  6. ‘L’industrie rurale en Angleterre des années 1200 a 1550: géographie, sociologie et organisation de la production et des marchés’, in J.-M.Minovez, C. Verna and L. Hilaire-Perez (eds.), Les Industries Rurales dans l’Europe Medievale et Moderne (Toulouse : Journées d’Histoire de Flaran, 33, 2013), 43-61.
  7. ‘Living in peasant houses in late medieval England’, Vernacular Architecture, 44 (2013), 19-27.
  8. ‘The material world of  English peasants, 1200-1540: archaeological perspectives on rural economy and welfare’, Agricultural History Review, 62 (2014), 1-22.
  9. ‘England’s economy in the fifteenth century’, in L.Clark (ed.) The Fifteenth Century, 13 (2014), pp. 201-25.
  10. ‘A ‘Golden Age’ rediscovered: labourers’ wages in the fifteenth century’, in M. Allen and D. Coffman (eds), Money, Prices and Wages: Essays in Honour of Professor Nicholas Mayhew (Basingstoke, 2015), pp.180-95.
  11. ‘New thinking about medieval settlement and its relevance for Leicestershire’, in K.Elkin (ed.), Medieval Leicestershire. Recent Research on the Medieval Archaeology of Leicestershire (Leicester, 2015), pp. 1-11.
  12. ‘Lords in a landscape: the Berkeley family and Northfield (Worcestershire)’, in L. Clark (ed.), The Fifteenth Century, 14 (2015), pp. 13-37
  13. ‘Peasant farming in late medieval England: evidence from the tithe estimations by Worcester Cathedral Priory’, in M. Kowaleski, J. Langdon and P. Schofield (eds.), Peasants and Lords in the Medieval English Economy: Essays in Honour of Bruce M.S. Campbell (Turnhout, 2015), pp. 83-109.
  14. ‘Tawney and Postan: two pathways to understanding the pre-industrial economy’, in J. P. Bowen and A.T. Brown (eds.), Custom and Commercialisation in English Rural Society: Revisiting Postan and Tawney (Hatfield, 2016), pp. 23-35.
  15. ‘The urbanization and de-urbanization of industrial production in England, 900-1500’,in A. Molinari, R. Valenzani and L. Spera (eds.), L’Archaeologia della Produzione a Roma (Secoli V-XV) (Collection de L’Ecole Francaise de Rome, 516, 2016), pp. 571-81.
  16. ‘Landscape, farming and society in an English region: the Inquisitions Post Mortem for the West Midlands, 1250-1509’, in M. Hicks (ed.), The Later Medieval Inquisitions Post Mortem. Mapping the Medieval Countryside and Rural Society (Woodbridge, 2016), pp. 59-83.
  17. 'The midland economic and society, 1314-1348: insights from changes in the landscape', Midland History, 42 (2017), pp.36-57.
  18. 'The origin and early development of the Medieval Settlement Research Group', Medieval Settlement Research,32 (2017), pp. 1-6.
  19. 'Social mobility in medieval England', in S.Carocci and I Lazzarini (eds), Social mobility in Medieval Italy (1100-1500) (Rome,2018), pp.23-43.
  20. 'Local societies on the move in the middle ages: migration and social mobility in England 1100-1500', Local Historian,48 (2018), pp.5-18.
  21. 'Open fields in their social and economic context: the west midlands of England', in C.Dyre, E.Thoen and T.Williamson (eds.), Peasants and Their Fields, The Rationale of Open-Field Agriculture, c.700-1800 (Turnhout 2018),pp.29-47.
  22. 'Household great and small: aristocratic styles of life across the social spectrum in England, 1200-1500', in C.M. Woolgar (ed.) The elite household in England, 1100-1550 (Donington 2018), pp. 5-28.

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