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Hospitality and household: Bishop Metford's household accounts October 1406-June 1407

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posted on 2022-03-28, 21:17 authored by Daphne J. R Martin
To date very little work of a quantitative nature has been devoted to hospitality in the Middle Ages. Statements and assumptions have been made as to the level and quality of hospitality, but they have seldom been supported by hard data. The recent publication of the household accounts of the bishop of Salisbury for October 1406 to June 1407 provides a rare opportunity to determine not only the quantity of material goods and services involved in the provision of hospitality in the context of a late medieval household, but also the proportion of household expenditure and annual income devoted to the fulfilment of that obligation. Bishop Metford's household accounts relate to the episcopal manors of Woodford and Potterne in Wiltshire, both some distance from Salisbury itself, where the dean and chapter held sway in the cathedral. Despite this apparent isolation in the countryside, which was not uncommon with bishops of secular cathedrals, the accounts reveal an extraordinarily active programme of hospitality. By analysing the data using EXCEL 2000, this study shows that about fifty percent of annual income was expended on maintaining the bishop's household and twenty percent of that - or ten percent of annual income - was spent on hospitality.


Alternative Title

Hospitality & household.

Table of Contents

Introduction -- Hospitality and Richard Metford -- The form of Metford's household accounts -- Salisbury diocese and its episcopal manors: the physical setting -- The bishop's residence at Potterne -- The bishop's domestic household -- Visitors to Bishop Metford's manors -- Commodities obtained locally -- Commodities from distant places -- Feasts and festivals -- Sickness, death and the funeral -- Household expenditure and the cost of hospitality -- Conclusions.


Bibliography: leaves 135-143

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters research


Thesis (MA (Hons)), Macquarie University, Division of Humanities, Department of Modern History

Department, Centre or School

Dept. of Modern History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

John F.R. Walmsley

Additional Supervisor 1

John Koenig


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Daphne J.R. Martin 2002. This thesis was digitised for the purposes of Document Delivery. Macquarie University ResearchOnline attempted to locate the author but where this has not been possible; we are making available, open access, selected parts of the thesis which may be used for the purposes of private research and study. If you have any enquiries or issues regarding this work being made available please contact Macquarie University ResearchOnline - If you wish to access the complete thesis, on receipt of a Document Supply Request, placed with Macquarie University Library by another library, we will consider supplying a copy of this thesis. For more information on Document Supply, please contact






vi, 143 leaves ill. (some col.), maps

Former Identifiers

mq:9043 1389689