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Professor John Hatcher

Professor John Hatcher

Emeritus Professor of Economic and Social History

Corpus Christi College
Trumpington Street

Cambridge CB2 1RP

Departments and Institutes

Corpus Christi College:

Research Interests

John Hatcher's general field of research lies in the economic, social and demographic history of England from the middle ages to the eighteenth century. Within this broad area the focus of his attention in recent years has included the rise of the British coal industry before the industrial revolution; the impact of the Black Death of 1348-9; wages, living standards, working habits and leisure in medieval and early modern England; the history and theory of economic development in the middle ages; and the population history of England between 1450 and 1750. He has recently published a book on the experiences of the ordinary individuals who lived and died in the Black Death which combines history with fiction and a study of living standards and real wages from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Research Supervision

In the last few years John Hatcher has supervised successful Ph.D students working on: farm management and agricultural technology in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; Cambridge and its economic region, 1450-1560; the culture and practice of commerce in the late middle ages; court rolls and village life in fourteenth-century Cambridgeshire; the economy of late medieval nunneries; the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 in Cambridgeshire.

Key Publications

Living standards, Wages and Work

Seven Centuries of Unreal Wages: The Unreliable Data, Sources and Methods that have been used for Measuring Standards of Living in the Past,  ed. with J Stephenson (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)          

Unreal wages: long-run living standards and the “golden age” of the 15th century’, in B Dodds & C Liddy (eds), Commercial Activity, Markets and Entrepreneurs in the Middle Ages  (Boydell, 2011)

 ‘Labour, leisure and economic thought before the nineteenth century’, Past and Present, 160 (1998)

 'Women’s work, wages and productivity in late medieval England’, Past and Present, 173 (2001)

 Lordship and Villeinage

'Lordship and Villeinage before the Black Death: from Karl  Marx to the Marxists and Back Again', In Peasants and Lords in the Medieval English Economy, ed by M Kowaleski, J Langdon and P R Schofield (Brepols, 2015)

 ‘English serfdom and villeinage: towards a re-assessment’, Past and Present, 90 (1981)

 ‘Population and class relations in feudal society’, with M M Postan, Past & Present, 78, (1979)  

 The Black Death

 ‘England in the aftermath of the Black Death’, Past and Present, 144  (1994)

 The Black Death: an Intimate History (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2008)

 'Fiction as History: the Black Death and beyond', History, 97 (2012)

 Population, Disease and Demography

 ‘Understanding the population history of England, 1450-1750’, Past and Present, 180 (2003)

 ‘Monastic Mortality: Durham Priory, 1395-1529’, with A Piper and D Stone,  Economic History Review,  LIX (2006)

 ‘Mortality in the fifteenth century: some new evidence’, Economic History Review,  XXXIX (1986)

  Plague, Population and the English Economy, 1348-1530 (Macmillan, 1977)

  Medieval Economy and Society

 Modelling the Middle Ages: the history and theory of England’s economic development, with Mark Bailey (OUP, 2001)

 ‘The great slump of the mid-fifteenth century’, in R H Britnell and J Hatcher (eds),  Progress and Problems in Medieval      England (CUP, 1996)

Medieval England: Towns, commerce and crafts, 1086-1348, with E Miller (Longman, 1986)

 Medieval England: Rural society and economic change, 1086-1348, with E Miller (Longman, 1978)

 Rural Economy and Society in the Duchy of Cornwall, 1300-1500 (CUP, 1970)

 ‘South West England: New Settlement, Farming Techniques, Social Structure', in H E Hallam (ed.) The Agrarian History of England and Wales, ii, 1042-1350 (CUP, 1988)

 ‘A diversified economy: later medieval Cornwall’, Economic History Review, XXII (1969)

 ‘Non-manorialism in medieval Cornwall’, Agricultural History Review, 18 (1970)

  ‘A fair field full of folk’, in An Historical Atlas of Britain, edited M Falkus and J Gillingham (Granada, 1981)

 Industry and Trade

 The History of the British Coal Industry before 1700 (OUP, 1993)

 ‘The emergence of a mineral-based energy economy in England, 1550-1850’,  in C Cacciotore (ed), Energy and Economy in Europe from the 13th to the 18th  Centuries  (Le Monnier, 2003) 

 English Tin Production and Trade before 1550 (OUP, 1973)

 A History of British Pewter, with T C Barker (Longman, 1974)         .

 ‘Myths, miners and agricultural communities’, Agricultural History Review, 22 (1974)