The Black Death: Crises and Consequences


Peasant's Revolt

The Black Death of 1348–'49 was the worst recorded pandemic in historic times, killing between one-third and one-half of Europe's population. During the next century, the plague returned on a regular basis, ensuring that the population did not return to pre-Black Death levels until well into the 16th century.

What were the consequences and reactions in England and in continental Europe? Examine the nature of the pestilence and its short- and long-term consequences. How did it affect medieval society, and how were the towns and countryside permanently changed? How did the church, the nobility and the monarchy react to this cataclysmic event?  Discuss urban decay, deserted villages and the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381, as well as the impact of the plague on literature, architecture and art.

Reading List

C. Dyer, Everyday Life in Medieval England. (Continuum, 2001)

J. Hatcher, The Black Death: An Intimate History. (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2008)

R. Horrox, The Black Death. (Manchester University Press, 1994)

J. Kelly, The Great Mortality. (Harper Perennial, 2010)

Field Trips

There will be field trips to relevant towns, churches and deserted villages.

Tutor Biography

Trevor Rowley, M.A., M.Litt., FSA, Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford University, is an archaeologist and landscape historian. His books include Villages in the Landscape, Norman England and The English Landscape in the 20th Century. Rowley has directed excavations on a wide range of Romano-British and medieval sites in Britain and Europe. He has taught and directed at Oxford University summer schools for many years and was former deputy director of the Department for Continuing Education.