Source/Archive record SYO2195 - DOMESTIC OBJECTS IN YORK c.1400–1600 Consumption, Neighbourhood and Choice

Title DOMESTIC OBJECTS IN YORK c.1400–1600 Consumption, Neighbourhood and Choice
Date/Year 2015


Focusing on object assemblages as revealed by documentary and archaeological sources, this thesis explores the material culture of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century York households. It examines the range of objects available to York residents while investigating the ways in which they were used and displayed and the values attributed to them. The first chapter introduces the key research questions, concerning the nature of object assemblages, change over time and interdisciplinarity. It discusses the data sets used and contains an overview of the historiography of urban material culture and household archaeology in England. The second chapter explains the methodology adopted, including prosopographical scoping of the individuals whose possessions have informed this work. Using information provided by surviving buildings and probate inventories, the third chapter investigates the size and composition of York houses, focusing on the ways in which object assemblages inform the spaces found within. It argues that rooms were defined by their contents rather than their physical structure or placement, and challenges the definition and timing of “rebuilding” within the city. The fourth and fifth chapters explore various types of value attributed to object assemblages. The fourth chapter concentrates on financial value as assigned in inventories and revealed by discard practices, and advocates consideration of functional value, leading to an examination of specialization of work and organization of production. The fifth chapter focuses on affective value as revealed through testamentary description, proposing an original methodology for applying the history of emotions to material culture. The sixth chapter draws upon findings from previous chapters to present a detailed overview of an individual household at the end of the period: the Starre Inne on Stonegate [MYO776], c.1580. The thesis concludes by addressing the key research questions, stressing the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach for the study of material culture, leading to a discussion of “neighbourhood”.

Referenced Monuments (1)

  • Ye Olde Starre Inne, 40 Stonegate (Building)

Referenced Events (0)

Record last edited

Apr 15 2019 10:21AM


Your feedback is welcome; if you can provide any new information about this record, please contact the City Archaeologist.