Family & Kinship in England, 1450-1800

By Will Coster
October 2001
Pearson Education
ISBN: 0582357179
176 pages
$36.50 Paper Original


There are many different views as to how the family evolved in early modern England. Designed to stimulate interest in a fascinating and important topic, Family and Kinship in England, 1450-1800 offers an important and timely synthesis of the various arguments and provides answers to the questions they raise. While historians have made the history of family life in the past a key area of scholarly study, the diversity of methods, sources, areas of interest and conclusions this has produced, have made it one of the most difficult for readers to approach.

The aim of this book is to provide a guide to understanding families in the past. It also gives a clear introduction to many of the intriguing areas of study that this field of history has opened up, including childhood, youth, marriage, sexuality and death. It provides clear signposts to how readers can pursue these and other topics. Through documents and illustrations it allows readers to begin to participate in the understanding of the history of family life which has determined the shape of own experiences of family life in the modern world.

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION - METHODS AND STRUCTURES 1. Approaching the history of the family Approaches and definitions 2. Emotional Life Affection Individualism. The rise of the nuclear family 3. Residence and Reproduction Residence Reproduction. The family and population 4. Life Cycle and Economy. Life course and life cycle. Resources and inheritance. Economic roles 5. Kinship The kinship system. Relationships with distant kin. Diversity

PART TWO: ANALYSIS - THE PATTERN OF FAMILY LIFE 6. Independence and Family Formation. The problem of youth. Service and apprenticeship. Household formation. 7. Men and Women. The marriage rite. Sex. Married life. 8. Parents and Children. Having children. Infants. Older children. 9. Broken Families. Widows, widowers and orphans. Old age and disability. Death and burial.

PART THREE: ASSESSMENT - CONTINUITY AND CHANGE. 10. The Impact of Ideas on Family Life. Humanism. The reformation. The enlightenment. Theory and practice. 11. Economic Change. Proletarianization. Proto-industrialization. Urbanization. 12. The Family and Kinship in Perspective.

PART FOUR: DOCUMENTS. Glossary. Bibliography. Index

Features " Major area of study in history. " Documents section. " Glossary and bibliography. Author Will Coster teaches history at De Montfort University, Bedford.

Review "…this excellent treatise [provides] understanding of the evolution of the family and an insight into family life some 500 years ago, by examining childhood, adolescence, marriage and sexuality amongst other topics" Family Tree Magazine

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