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Reviews 187 final chapter, 'Death from the Conquest to the Reformation', charts the changes in deathbed conduct and burial practices which occur over five centuries. This draws together the detailed evidence from individual chapters very successfully. The indexes and bibUography are exceUent. DanieU's Preface speaks of a need for 'a general work about death and burial in England within the Middle Ages' (p. vu). He has written that work. Carole M. Cusack School of Studies in Religion University of Sydney Emery, Anthony, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales 13001500 . Volume I: Northern England, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996; cloth; pp. xiv, 435; 210 b / w illustrations, 104 figures, 3 tables; R.R.P. AUS$200.00. This is the first volume to be published in a projected series of three. At the time of writing, the other two—one on central England and Wales, the other on southern England—are still in preparation. The project is a massive one in scope and, if the first volume gives sufficient indication, it wiU prove to be of great significance for future research. Anthony Emery has divided his book and his territory into three parts: Northumbria (Northumberland and Durham); Cumbria (Cumberland, Westmorland and northern Lancashire), and Yorkshire. There are fifteen chapters, five on each region. There is a consistent pattern of chapter topics across the three parts. Each part begins with a succinct socio-poUtical account of the region. There foUows a chapter on broad architectural features and then there is a third chapter on some distinguishing features. The fourth chapter consists of a brief descriptive bibUography. The fifth and final chapter in each part is a coUection of reports, in alphabetical sequence, on major houses; about fifty houses are covered for each region. The individual reports are mainly two to three pages in length, depending on the significance of the house and the extent to which it survives. A survey of medieval houses on this scale could easily have 188 Reviews become a dull set of technical detaUs and statistics. The triumph of this book is that it is consistently stimulating and often exciting to read. The author has supplied a great deal of specialist information for the architectural historian, but without ever losing touch with his perceptions of these houses as places where people lived and wherein medieval society found its forms. Each house is described with a sense of its o w n unique atmosphere. I doubt whether anyone would want to read the fifth chapter of each part (i.e. the individual reports) straight through, nor do I suspect Emery would want us to. His placing of the descriptions in alphabetical order is a wise recognition that a thematic grouping—whether in terms of style, function or district—would have detracted from or compromised his precise accounts of individual houses on their o w n terms. This first volume of Greater Houses of England and Wales should appeal to a wide range of readers, though it m a y not please all. It may disappoint those social historians w h o are out of sympathy with the sense that events are most significantly shaped by those at the top end of society. In his general introduction, Emery takes the straightforward stand that 'greater' houses are are to be identified with 'the houses of the leaders of society-the crown, the aristocracy and gentry' and that people from this stratum were 'the movers and shakers of medieval society' (p. 2). Predictably then, the subsequent historical chapters which begin each part are predominantly concerned with the Uves of those movers and shakers. The result is something sUghtly old-fashioned, reminiscent of school history books in past generations, but that sUghtly musty quaUty does not negate the value of the historical backgrounds for each region. I found these chapters, within the limits of such an approach, both insightful and incisive. For instance, the rivalry between the NevuTes and the Percys in Northumbria is traced with precision and clarity that would grace other contexts: m a n y readers of Shakespeare's history plays, especiaUy Richard II and the two Henry FV plays, would benefit from reading those pages. The names...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 187-191
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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