Everyday Travel and Community in Early Modern England
This British Academy-funded project traces patterns of everyday travel in early modern England to recover social and economic communities beyond the boundary of the village, parish, or town. Scholarship identifies high migration and parish population turnover in England during this period; yet historians continue to locate the social and economic communities to which ordinary people belonged within a highly localised framework, characterising the early modern village as self-contained.
To access their spatial experiences and identities, this project investigates the quotidian journeys that men and women across the social spectrum recounted in court depositions between 1550 and 1700. Divided into three strands, the project analyses the nature of everyday travel (investigating who made journeys, how far they travelled and for what purpose); the influence of topography and landscape on cross-parish socio-economic networks; and the extent to which infrastructure and transportation determined the scale and experience of everyday travel in early modern England.