Food, drink and late medieval Southampton

Learn about food, diet and trade in medieval Southampton with Professor Chris Woolgar from the University of Southampton.


What people eat is determined by a whole range of circumstances, from cultural choice to availability of foodstuffs. This talk will look at what was consumed in late medieval Southampton and why, how meals were composed and what it meant to eat together.

We will discuss some of the major changes in diet in the late medieval period, how the catastrophes of famine and plague in the first half of the fourteenth century affected the availability of foodstuffs – and led to upward mobility in everyday consumption. The evidence for this paper comes directly from archaeological excavations in the town and records kept in it, from the domestic accounts of God’s House hospital to the local customs accounts and the books kept by the town’s broker, taking tolls on carts as they entered and left the town.

This free event is part of our Community Takeover, which celebrates the ideas and talents of local people in Southampton. To find out more, please click here.

Chris Woolgar is Emeritus Professor of History and Archival Studies at the University of Southampton. He has long been interested in the history of the everyday, particularly in the medieval period. Chris has written about medieval households, sensory perception, food and many other topics; he is currently writing a book about the objects in medieval people’s lives, a study based on 1000s of wills, including those that have survived from Southampton. His The Culture of Food in England 1200-1500 was published by Yale University Press in 2016.

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