This classic study of a single community in early modern England has had a major influence on the interpretation of the social dynamics of the period. It opens with a chapter establishing this small Essex parish in the national context of econmic and social change in the years between 1525 and 1700. Thereafter the chapters examine the economy of Terling; its demographic history; its social structure; the relationships of the villagers with the courts of the church and state; the growth of popular literacy; the impact of the reformation, and the rise in puritanism. The overall process of change is then characterized in a powerful interpretive chapter on the changing pattern of social relationships in the parish.
This revised edition has a new chapter, 'Terling Revisited' which addresses the debate occasioned by the book, notably over kinship relations in early modern England, and the impact of puritanism on local society. In both cases a new interpretive synthesis is attempted and the argument of the first edition is defended, elaborated, and advanced in the light of subsequent research.