The Consumption of Field Crops in Late Medieval England

Castle Acre Priory Kiln

It is hard to avoid platitudes when describing the place of grain in medieval diet, for in both absolute and relative terms it towered over any other foodstuff. This may not have been the case in every part of medieval Britain, as Gerald of Wales informs us in his Description of Wales of c.1200,1 but for the vast majority of people in England grain provided the bulk of their calorific intake. It has been estimated that at the start of the fourteenth century grain accounted for up to 80 per cent...

Gardens and Garden Produce in the Later Middle Ages

The lack of much modern writing about medieval food production in gardens and orchards, or the consumption of vegetables and fruit, is easily explained. First, these matters have been dismissed by historians as marginal and trivial secondly, full and detailed written evidence can be rather scarce.1 In fact gardens and their produce, far from being small matters best left to antiquarians, are essential to any assessment of the quantity and quality of medieval diets. In considering quantity, in a...