remember emmanuel todd’s traditional family systems, 1500-1900? here they are again:
i wanted to try to extend this map back to the medieval period. here’s what i’ve got for the british isles after the arrival of the anglos, saxons and jutes (and frisians?) and after they converted to christianity. so, ca. 800-900s to maybe the 1200s. something like that (see color key above – note that i haven’t updated areas outside the british isles to reflect what was going on in those places during the medieval period):
pretty much all of ireland remained having todd’s endogamous (patriarchal) community families throughout the middle ages. in fact, todd is somewhat misleading in including ireland as a stem-family country between 1500-1900 since apparently the stem family didn’t really appear in ireland until after the 1850s. hmmmm.
western regions of britain — western scotland, wales and cornwall — also stuck with the endogamous community family system throughout the middle ages. so did the peoples in the anglo-scottish border areas — the border reivers. in fact, they were clannish right up through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries — at least! — when many of them emigrated to what would become the u.s.
east anglia and kent, as we recently saw, also had community families in the medieval period, but they (i think) married out more, so they would be classified as exogamous community families. joint families were common in medieval east anglia and kent, but not so much crazy, infighting clans. there was also little manorialism in east anglia and kent compared to central england, but more than in places like scotland or ireland. remember that the manor system relied on nuclear families and, coupled with the oubreeding demands of the christian church, manorialism broke down genetic relatedness and extended family systems in the population.
the heartland of manorialism in england was central england — mercia and wessex. this is where there was the greatest number of manor estates — the most tenant farmer peasants and others bound to the land in service to a manor — the hardest push for outbreeding and nuclear families. interestingly, this is where hackett fisher’s cavaliers and indentured servants came from, sorta maintaining in the new world the ages old tradition of masters and servants from this region of britain.
i may not be right in delineating central england as having “absolute nuclear families” during the medieval period. perhaps they had more stem families, i’m not sure. what they definitely didn’t have, though, were extended community families of any sort.
not sure what was going on in northeast scotland.
sometime between the middle ages and the modern period, the community family systems disappeared (for the most part) and nuclear and stem families became the norm throughout the british isles.
(note: comments do not require an email. caerlaverock castle, scotland. cool.)