Book Description: From the departure of the Roman legions, to the battle of Bosworth and the rise of the Tudors, the world of medieval England was one of profound diversity and change. Now, in The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England, readers have an authoritative and stimulating overview of this pivotal period in British history. Lavishly illustrated with over a hundred pictures--including twenty-four pages of color plates--this attractive volume brings together leading scholars who illuminate the history and culture of medieval England. The book brims with information on the social, cultural, and religious life of the period, covering topics as varied as the nature of national identity, the character of urban life, the great works of art and architecture, the details of religious practice, and the development of a vernacular literature. The heart of the book explores the main political changes in the time-span ranging from the Anglo-Saxon period, to the rule of the Normans and Angevins, to the late middle ages. Here we see the rise of a united polity and rapid institutional growth, in a time when war was of primary importance in both stimulating change and shaping national identity. In economic terms, the age was characterized by long, and rapid, population growth followed by severe contraction, sparked by the famines of 1315-17 and the Black Death. A consequence of the steep fall in population, however, was a higher per capita consumption: the splendid churches and fine vernacular architecture of the period bear witness to the wealth and variety of lay patronage. The middle ages have always held a special fascination for readers of history and this superb volume offers a gold mine of information on the period. With numerous illustrations, family trees, a chronology, guides to further reading, and a full index, this is an indispensable guide to England in the middle ages.