Medieval markets, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and the IPMs

The Inquisitions Post Mortem are a key source for the study of economic history in the Middle Ages; among the wealth of varied historical evidence they contain are included records and valuations of medieval markets and fairs. Our project, 'Placing Medieval Markets in their Landscape Context through the Portable Antiquities Scheme Data', hosted by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS, at the British Museum, examines medieval commercial sites and their relationships with the small archaeological finds in the PAS database. The PAS was established in 1997 and today contains information on over 1,200,000 objects found by members of the public, mostly by metal-detecting. Some 190,000 finds are medieval (1066-1540). We aim to study the emergence, growth and decline of medieval markets, and associated infrastructure such as roads and navigable waterways, through this archaeological evidence.

New publication: ‘The Bastardy of Edward V in 1484: New evidence of its reception in the inquisitions post mortem of William, Lord Hastings’, Royal Studies Journal, 3 (2016), 71-9.

One of the objectives of the ‘Mapping the Medieval Countryside’ project was to consider new ways in which the documents could be used to address broader historical questions. The recent AHRC-funded project has helped to develop a better understanding of these documents and their value for addressing a broad range of historical topics. A recent article by Gordon McKelvie in the Royal Studies Journal has considered the dating clause in the IPMs of William, lord Hastings, in 1484 to show how Richard III’s claim that his nephews were bastards had traction in the localities during his reign.

Digitising the Calendars of Inquisitions post mortem

Work has continued on making the published inquisitions post mortem freely accessible in the sixteen months since funding ceased, and we are pleased to announce that another major target of the Mapping the Medieval Countryside has now been achieved. Volumes 1-20 of the Calendars of Inquisitions post mortem and 2nd series volumes 1-3 for Henry VII are now freely available on British History Online at
(Volumes 21-26 are of course already available on the present website).

Two Tales of the Earls of Suffolk: Heirs Male and Heirs General

IPM valuations: the question of accuracy (1)

Digitization of the IPMs makes the documents much more widely accessible. The addition of extensive markup also allows new questions to be asked and old questions to be answered in new ways. The markup relating to holdings is now (more or less) complete for the years 1427-42 (CIPM volumes 23 to 25) and in the coming months we will be exploring the data that is now available.