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Title: Politics, governance, and the Wars of the Roses : the political elites of south-west England, 1450-1500
Author: Stansfield-Cudworth, Robert E.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1462 3178
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2007
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This study of south-west England during the later fifteenth century explores the feasibility of a regional approach, by examining the politics, government, and elites of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Chapter 1 begins by discussing historians' views of Edward IV's regional policy, and extrapolates its implications for issues of governance and methodology. Chapter 2 looks at the concept of regions and their definition, and examines how a south-west region might be defined geographically, economically, culturally, and politically – identifying the importance of meso-scale regions. Chapter 3 discusses political structures – those methods for exerting royal authority – in general, and with specific reference to the region, in particular, the estates, regalities, and administration of the duchy of Cornwall; this chapter also discusses the principles of patron-client relationships, and the evidence that can be used to reconstruct lordship and affinities. Chapter 4 defines the region's political elites and investigates whether their land-holding, office-holding, and marriage alliances were regional, and the degree to which their associations were regional is examined by means of three family case-studies: the Hungerfords, the Arundells, and the Edgcumbes (in which the clientelist principles outlined in Chapter 3 are demonstrated). The ensuing chapters evaluate the politics and government of the counties and region as a whole on a chronological basis. The influence of the Beauforts, the impact of Bonville-Courtenay rivalry, and the regional ascendancy of James, Earl of Wiltshire during the last years of Henry VI's reign (1450–61) are considered in Chapter 5. There is a particular emphasis on the ascendancy of Humphrey, Lord Stafford of Southwick, and his role in Edward IV's system of government (1461–9) in Chapter 6. The roles of George, Duke of Clarence, William, Lord Hastings, John, Lord Dinham, and Thomas, Marquess of Dorset (1471–83) are examined in Chapter 7; followed by the region's contribution to the October Rebellion and Richard III's policy of 'northern plantations' in Chapter 8. The influences of Giles, Lord Daubeney in Somerset and Dorset, and Robert, Lord Willoughby de Broke in Cornwall and Devon, under Henry VII (1485–1500) are the focus of Chapter 9. Throughout these chapters, local political alignments and the use and abuse of the royal household in the localities – increasingly the vital institution for exerting royal influence – are highlighted, as well as the regional significance of the duchy of Cornwall. Because of the inherently unstable nature of regional hegemonies, the regional trend in governance that is discernible during the period may have been a significant factor in the continuance of the Wars of the Roses. In conclusion (Chapter 10), the related themes of 'regional governance' and 'household governance' are evaluated within a wider historical perspective, and the broader relevance of the south-western elites and identities are discussed in relation to the study of meso- and macro-scale regions.
Supervisor: Grant, Alexander Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available