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The Role of the Hospital in Medieval England: Gift-Giving and the Spiritual Economy

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Hospitals in medieval England gave and received gifts as part of the spiritual economy, engaging in an ongoing process of gift-exchange and reciprocity with the rich, as hospital patrons and benefactors. Those inside the hospital, the poor, infirm, and other unfortunates, also had a role to play, and as recipients of spiritual and bodily aid from the hospital, they could offer prayers of intercession for the houses benefactors, so playing a part in the exchange of gifts. This study of the relationships between those inside ...

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