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A Typology of Travellers: Migration, Justice, and Vagrancy in Warwickshire, 1670–1730


This paper examines the relief of travellers in Warwickshire, England. By using an unusually rich set of Constables’ Accounts for the parish of Grandborough, it interrogates the relationship between charity, local justice, and both official and popular perceptions of migration. It argues that the large number of migrants who passed through rural parishes were categorised by the local constable according to cultural and discretionary criteria. This ‘typology’ of travellers determined the nature and extent of the relief they might receive and the actions that might be taken against them. Socially threatening migrants, such as poor pregnant women, the sick, and vagrants, also found themselves affected by this same ‘proscriptive calculation’, often to their detriment.

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Paul Slack , ‘Vagrants and Vagrancy in England, 1598–1664’, The Economic History Review, 27:3 (1974), 367

Alexandra Shepard , ‘Poverty, Labour and the Language of Social Description in Early Modern England’, Past and Present, 201 (2008), 5195

Henry French , The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England 1600–1750 (Oxford, 2008)

J. Walter , ‘Gesturing at Authority: Deciphering the Gestural Code of Early Modern England’, Past and Present, 203, Supplement 4 (2009), 96127

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Rural History
  • ISSN: 0956-7933
  • EISSN: 1474-0656
  • URL: /core/journals/rural-history
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