Academic writing in Britain and Ireland has tended to treat the histories of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as discrete subjects of study. This approach is understandable but it does lead to the creation of artificial boundaries within the historical study of the British Isles and, in particular, overlooks the often close links between the different countries and societies within these islands. Equally, it inhibits the opportunity to compare and contrast the countries and societies and explain where and why their paths have diverged or merged. This book is a pioneering attempt to show how the historical understanding of the period 1100–1500 may be enriched by adopting a ‘British Isles’ approach.
Some of the chapters approach general issues such as political structures, aristocracies, law and literacy; others focus on more particular problems both between the countries and within them.