Joanne Sear: ‘A potful of peses’ – changing diets in the late Middle Ages

In The Vision of Piers Plowman, dated between 1367 to 1386, Piers keeps hunger at bay by making ‘a potful of peses’, the pea or bean pottage which formed the staple diet of the labouring poor in the late Middle Ages. But this was about to change as a longer term consequence of the Black Death was a rise in the living standards of the poorer classes, with the greatest improvement being an increased consumption of more and better quality foodstuffs.

This presentation will consider how the basic medieval diet changed after the Black Death and how we see this reflected in the domestic environment of the lower orders.

Joanne Sear teaches at the Institute of Continuing Education, Cambridge, and is editor of the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Her own research focuses on medieval consumption and trade.

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Event information


25 Nov 2020


2:15 pm


Wednesday Lecture - online