Territoriality, parochial development, and the place of ‘community’ in later medieval Cornwall
University of Exeter
Journal of Historical Geography
This paper explores the emerging territorial framework of west Cornwall in relation to community expression and power. It examines such issues as increasing administrative competence, territorial order and communal action. However, although such notions as emerging territoriality, secular political development and local communal cohesion are often associated with studies of modernisation and the emergence of distinctly modern systems and relations, this paper focuses on a peripheral region during the later medieval period (c. 1350–1550) and identifies such transitions as inherent within this pre-modern society. Evolving local ecclesiastical patterns in Cornwall during the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries saw numerous small chapels and sub-parochial foundations struggling for status and recognition amid an increasingly well-delineated territorial framework of parishes. By relating accounts of incidents and episodes of local ecclesiastical politics and discord to the territorial expressions of community organisation, combinations of local people are identified that were operating to control and order their local affairs. As well as questioning the implicit assumptions that some geographers and other scholars have about a medieval society that was supposedly dominated by a collage of lordly manorial and high ecclesiastical power, this paper also makes space for theories of territoriality and organisational complexity as a way of examining the developments of a period for which the written record is both sparse and partial.
Copyright © 2003 Elsevier. NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work accepted for publication by Elsevier. Changes resulting from the publishing process, including corrections, structural formatting and other quality control mechanisms, may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Historical Geography, Vol 29 (2), 2003, pp. 151-165. DOI: 10.1006/jhge.2002.0411
Journal of Historical Geography, 29 (2), 2003: pp. 151-165