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Title: 'The house of every one' : the consumption of material culture in castles during the English Civil War
Author: Askew, Rachel M. C.
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2013
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Castles studies are currently polarised between proponents of the castle as defensive stronghold and those who view it as elite status symbol. However, these debates largely ignore the participation of castles in the English Civil War. This thesis addresses these problems through the development of an alternative, biographical approach which is applied to drinking and dining assemblages from three castles: Eccleshall, Staffordshire and Sandal and Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Rather than interpret the castle from the viewpoint of its elite owner, a biographical approach utilises excavated material culture to investigate how the castle was inhabited on a daily basis by its non-elite occupants. It highlights the possibility that a castle is not identified on the basis of its appearance, but the way in which it is experienced by those who inhabit it. This is demonstrated by case studies of three buildings utilised as castles during the Civil War: a bishop’s palace, a ruined motte and bailey and a strong fortress. The selected assemblages demonstrate the important role played by food, drink and their containers during the Civil War. As well as being integral to a garrison’s ability to stave off starvation, these assemblages were vital in the maintenance of group cohesion and identity. This is most clearly seen through the adoption of outmoded vessels and other material culture at all the castles studied. Analysis of these suggest the occupation of castles during this period, far from being an act of desperation, was instead part of a conscious effort by their defenders to legitimise and sustain their identity through references to the past. This demonstrates that, far from being divorced from the medieval period, the occupation of castles during this period was instead the continuation of a much longer history lasting from their initial construction until the present day.
Supervisor: Willmott, Hugh B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available