Expediency versus Ethics: The Problem of Bribery in Late Medieval England

Jennifer Hole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bribery in late medieval England was embedded in a culture that gave it support and sustenance. This article investigates both the social and economic factors that contributed to the giving and receiving of bribes. Bribery persisted despite several statutes and remonstrations by the church and by moralists such as John Gower and William Langland. It was seen as offending God and undermining justice, but individuals had their own priorities when deciding to engage in bribery. Both sides of the conflict between expediency and ethics are examined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-131
Number of pages19
JournalParergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2020


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