Landowners on the Devon and Somerset border : 1660-1715.
The object of this study is to examine the economic, religious,
political and social aspects of landowning on the Devon and Somerset
border, at a time of change and challenge after the Restoration. It
considers in particular whether landowners were able to abandon the
animosities that had been aroused by the Civil War.
The first chapter is an introduction to the region and its
landowners, together with a discussion of the sources used. It points out
the themes which will be developed in later chapters. This is followed
by a study of landowning, showing its progress in the parish of Uffculme
in Devon. Chapter 3 takes a look at society at a level below that of the
middling gentry, to the trademen and yeomen who were beginning to make
their way into the landowning class, and provides some case studies.
Chapters 4 and 5 concern the economic aspects of landowning, including
agriculture, estate management and the cloth trade and show how with
careful husbanding of resources an estate could be made to pay even in
difficult times, but how the shift of the London cloth trade to the
Exeter ports adversely affected some estates. Nonconformity was closely
linked with the cloth trade and the landowner's beliefs and their
connection with levels of nonconformity are discussed in chapter 6.
Religious attitudes were closely linked to political outlook in the
seventeenth-century and political themes are examined in chapter 7. The
first section discusses the divided society that had developed at the end
of the 1670s and the second contains a description of the MPs, the
electorate, the conduct of elections, and the issues involved. Chapter
8 is concerned with prevailing social attitudes to patriarchialism and
contract, viewing three groups within the household, that of husbands and
wives, parents and children, and master/mistress and servant. The final
chapter is a conclusion of how well the ideas with which the study was
begun have been supported by the evidence adduced.