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A Strange Economy: "Farming Out" the Work

In an attempt to "save the farm" the Baron Talbot-Le Strange is leasing out the best parts of his lands to independent farmers called yeomen. Yeoman means "young man" in Old English. They are former peasant farmers who have accumulated enough money to buy or lease a minimum of 100 acres of land. Labor costs have risen so high that "farming out the work" makes more sense for the Baron in the short-term but in the long-term the Le Strange estate will run out of money and the family name will be struck from the rolls of the nobles. The Talbot part of the family will carry on. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Black Death killed off husbands so young that it left young widows with dower claims (for her support) chewing up the profits of the estate as the dowagers were paid off. Dower claims became an unintentional pyramid scheme with the early claimants getting a reasonable settlement but later widows getting a lesser deal as the money ran out. Social Security did not exist in the 1400s but endowment schemes such as "the dower" worked only as long as the estate remained reasonably profitable and there were few claimants.[4] [5]

Side note: Bellatrix Lestrange was a villain in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. [6]

The Mings vs the Mongols

A civil war has broken out between the Northern Yuan Mongols (of Genghis Kahn) in Mongolia and the Volga Tatars (the Golden Horde) to the northwest of China. Since throwing off Mongol rule, the Ming Dynasty of China has been in rebuild mode but the Yongle Emperor has had great success using the Star Fleet to gain vassals and extract tribute in every port it lands. Last year the Emperor sent an ambassador to demand tribute from the Northern Mongols as well. The body of the Ming ambassador was returned forthwith so the Yongle Emperor has led five expeditions into Mongolia and wiped out almost the entire Mongol force there... numbering into the hundreds of thousands. [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Ming Empire is turning into a force for conquest. They are reaping the benefits of their previous work, planting a million trees, rebuilding canals, and sending out a fleet of ships, but the Silk Road has not been maintained and has fallen into disuse.

Great Schism: Burn, Baby, Burn

Last year AntiPope Alexander the 5th issued a bull (a letter marked with the papal seal) calling on the Archbishop of Prague to collect up all the Wycliffe translations of the Bible and to forbid public preaching. After seeing the papal letter, Jan Hus appeals to the Pope to stay the edict, but Jan Hus has become the ideological successor to John Wycliffe and he is now the prime target for the Church. AntiPope Alexander excommunicates him and then dies. The Wycliffe bibles are burning as riots break out in Bohemia supporting Hus. In 1415, Jan Hus will be put to the flames and, along with the burning of John Wycliffe's bones, it will spark the Reformation 100 years later. [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Currently THREE POPES are attempting to assert their authority over the Church. After the death of Antipope Alexander the 5th, AntiPope John the 23rd is elected. Pope John is considered an AntiPope by modern Church authorities since he opposed Pope Gregory the 12th in Rome. John the 23rd will eventually be deposed on charges of piracy, murder, rape, sodomy, and incest and apparently these will be the lesser charges. [14] [15]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1410, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Baron Talbot - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  2. Baron Strange of Blackmere - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Cantor, Norman F., In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made, Harper Perennial, 2001. p. 135. (BOOK) quote="The Talbots after about 1410 could not hire enough labor to continue direct cultivation of their own family lands, the demesne. They did what most other landlords did in the fifteenth century. They split up their demesne into farm blocks that they leased ("farmed") out to the wealthier and more enterprising peasants. From these yeomen leaseholders new gentry families emerged in the late fifteenth century.
  4. Lewis, Jone Johnson. Dowager - Definition and Explanation of the Title, about.com, 2014 [last update]
  5. Dower - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Bellatrix Lestrange - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  7. Gernet, Jacques. (translated by Foster, J. R. and Hartman, Charles) A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. 1996. pp. 397-401. (BOOK) quote="At the time of the civil war unleashed by the prince of Yen under Hung-wu's successor, the Oirats showed signs of renewed activity, but the emperor Yung-le successfully resumed the offensive against the Mongol tribes and led five big expeditions in person, winning a great victory on the river Onon to the north-east of Ulan Bator in 1410."
  8. Yongle Emperor's campaigns against the Mongols - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Óljei Temür Khan - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Northern Yuan dynasty: Rise of the Oirats - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim. (Barbara Tuchman, bio). A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. Ballantine, 1979. p. 484. (BOOK) quote="Taking its doctrine from Wyclif and named for Jan Hus, who was to be burned as a heretic in 1415, the Hussite rising opened the way to the Reformation a hundred years later."
  12. Jan Hus - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  13. John Wycliffe - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  14. Antipope John XXIII - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  15. Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in Seven Volumes, Volume 7. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. 1914. p. 300. "Chapter 70" (PUBLIC DOMAIN) quote="Of the three popes, John the Twenty-third was the first victim: he fled and was brought back a prisoner: the most scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was only accused of piracy, murder, rape, sodomy, and incest; and after subscribing his own condemnation, he expiated in prison the imprudence of trusting his person to a free city beyond the Alps."

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