The Social and Economic Life of Money: From the Medieval to the Modern

Event Details

  • Event date: 26/01/2019
  • Venue: Institute of Historical Research, London

Recent research on the history of money has drawn attention to the changing use and representation of money in its social, economic and cultural contexts. In particular, the subjectivity or ‘symbolism’ of money has been shown to have had impacts on changing notions of individualism, gender, and morality, as well as processes of economic and social change. Yet these histories have remained firmly siloed within the separate scholarship of distinct periods.

Early modern scholarship on the social life of money has provided a means for understanding the transition from the fundamentally entwined social and economic practices of the medieval era to the supposedly-disembedded economic behaviours of the modern world. However, scholars of the medieval and modern periods have yet to examine these questions in the same depth and or with the same criticality as their early modernist counterparts, let alone ranging across periods.

Funded and organised jointly by the Social History Society and the Economic History Society, which both have a special interest in the history of money but for very different reasons, this one-day workshop will bring together scholars of the history of money in the medieval, early modern and modern periods. Our particular focus will be on the social meanings and rituals surrounding changing economic practices of payment and non-payment in each period. It is hoped that by providing a platform for further discussion and by bringing together different perspectives on the subject, new avenues of research may be revealed.


There is a £10 registration fee for non-speakers. As spaces are limited, please RSVP by contacting the organisers:



10.00   Arrival and registration (with coffee)

10.20   Welcome remarks

10.30   Dr George Gosling, University of Wolverhampton

On the need to think about money histories cross-discipline

10.45   Dr Matthew Pawelski, University of Lancaster

On the need to think about money histories cross-period

11.00   Q&A

11.10   Coffee break

11.20   Professor Christopher Dyer, University of Leicester

‘Pottage for free-born Englishmen’: medieval wages in money and kind

11.40   Dr Kate Bradley, University of Kent

Profession and pro bono: lawyers, free legal advice, and respectability, c.1920-1950​

12.00   Q&A

12.30   Lunch

13.30   Dr Hannah Robb, University of Manchester

Arbitration before the Church Court: debt litigation and neighbourliness in the fifteenth century

13.50   Professor Anne Murphy, University of Hertfordshire

Performing public credit during the late eighteenth century

14.10   Q&A

14.40   Coffee break

15.00   Professor Craig Muldrew, University of Cambridge

Trust and the beginnings of the use of paper currency in Britain in the early eighteenth century

15.20   Dr Sarah Roddy, University of Manchester

Ordinary people’s money: what the history of giving gives historians

15.40   Q&A

16.10   Closing roundtable: where next?

with Professor Pamela Cox, University of Essex, Chair of the Social History Society

17.00   End of workshop


Click here for the pdf version