Andy Wood is Professor of Early Modern Social History at the University of Durham. His fifth book, Faith, Hope and Charity: English Neighbourhoods, 1500–1640 (Cambridge, 2020) derives from his recent Leverhulme-funded project on everyday life and social relations during the same period. He specializes in the use of archival court records to ‘get at’ the mental worlds of those labelled as the ‘poorer and middling sort of people’ in early modern English society.
Drawing on a remarkably rich variety of hitherto largely unstudied sources and focusing on local sites, where ordinary people lived their lives, this talk will look at the world of work as experienced by communities in early modern England. As part of this assessment, the experience of neighbourliness was important, and this talk also demonstrates vividly how perennial bonds between working people were emotionally rewarding as well as economically functional in early modern society.