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Title: Landed Society and Allegiance in Shropshire in the First Civil War
Author: Wanklyn , M. D. G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 4334
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1976
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The first chapter of this thesis is a comparative study of Shropshire and Cheshire in the Early Modern era. It is intended to provide a brief topographical introduction to the area and to emphasise the contrasts between the two counties produced by differences in their political, social, economic and religious development since the Norman Conquest. There is also a lengthy discussion of the nature and extent of the opposition to the Crown during the sixteen-thirties. Most of the second chapter is devoted to a critique of the commonly-accepted view that for the purposes of analysis seventeenth-century English society can best be regarded as a rigid hierarchy of clearly-defined status-groups distinguished from one another by title. Using evidence drawn mainly from Shropshire and Cheshire sources it is argued that seventeenth-century rural society is best seen as a unity in which differences in status depend on the amount of freehold land owned. In the third chapter the parameters of the study are laid down and the categories, divisions and definitions to be employed are discussed in considerable detail. This section is followed by a description of the formation, size and composition of the warring groups in the two counties. Chapter four is concerned essentially with possible economic determinants of allegiance. In the first section a method of discovering the income of landed families usinglay-subsidies is put forward, defended and then used for purposes of analysis, In both counties the results obtained suggest that Royalists tended to be wealthier than Parliamentarians. The second section is an attempt to assess the degree of enterprise shown by landowners in the fields of industry, agriculture and commerce, but in neither county does a clear difference emerge between the two sides. There is also an appendix concerned with the nature and importance of indebtedness amongst landed families. The major part of the fifth chapter is taken up with an examination of the changing patterns of landownership' in Shropshire and Cheshire in the period 1540 to 1680. A subsidiary theme is the investigation of the connection between the buying and selling of land and changes which occurred in the political elite of-the county. The final section is a discussion of whether any of the groups which emerged in the early months of the Civil War contained an unusually high proportion of rising or declining families or disappointed office-seekers. The purpose of the sixth chapter is to investigate a number of possible social and religious determinants of allegiance - age, position in the family, education, ancestry, family connexion, Roman Catliolicism, and devotion towards the Anglican Church as it was constituted in the summer of 1642. The final chapter is used for drawing together the various conclusions reached in earlier chapters and forin other studies of allegiance in the English Civil Wars. Amongst other things it is suggested that the Parliamentary officers and administrators in both counties tended to be drawn from a lower level of landed society than the Royalists, and that, those wealthy Parliamentarians who were of ancient and distinguished stock were often Puritans or did not enjoy office or title commensurate with their landholding.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available