Narratives of Environmental Events in the Winchester Pipe Rolls and English Historiography of the Early Fourteenth Century

Schuh, Maximilian GND

During the first half of the fourteenth century England was hit by various environmental impacts such as extreme weather events, outbreaks of murrains and Rinderpest, and flooding of coastal areas. The paper addresses the question, in what way contemporaries talked and wrote about these environmental impacts. In what way was weather described, explained and used as argument? Are there certain narrative patterns describing the effect of these events on the society? So far research focused chronicles, annals and other narrative sources to answer those questions. In contrast, manorial accounts and other documentary sources are often not seen as narrative texts but only as the source of quantifiable data. But these texts were composed in a distinct communicative setting that created certain narrative patterns. The paper identifies and analyses descriptions, explanations and arguments brought forward in this type of sources. In a second step they will compared with narrative patterns of chronicles and annals. The variety of these narratives reflects the mani-foldness of their perceptions and their societal consequences.