Family, Work, and Household presents the social and occupational life of a late medieval Iberian town in rich, unprecedented detail. The book combines a diachronic study of two regionally prominent families—one knightly and one mercantile—with a detailed cross-sectional urban study of household and occupation. The town in question is the market town and administrative centre of Manresa in Catalonia, whose exceptional archives make such a study possible. For the diachronic studies, Fynn-Paul relied upon the fact that Manresan archives preserve scores of individual family notarial registers, and the cross-sectional study was made possible by the Liber Manifesti of 1408, a cadastral survey which details the property holdings of individual householders to an unusually thorough degree.
In these pages, the economic and social strategies of many individuals, including both knights and burghers, come to light over the course of several generations. The Black Death and its aftermath play a prominent role in changing the outlook of many social actors. Other chapters detail the socioeconomic topography of the town, and examine occupational hierarchies, for such groups as rentiers, merchants, leatherworkers, cloth workers, women householders, and the poor.