Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The gentry as governors in early modern England, with special reference to Middlesex and Essex, 1558-1625
Author: Clark, Matthew John
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Access from Institution:
This dissertation presents a study of the gentry and their role as governors in the counties of Middlesex and Essex, 1558-1625. It explores the ways in which the gentry exercised authority in a number of social roles, concentrating specifically on their activities as landlords and as officeholders. This provides an opportunity for assessing the ways in which social and political identities overlapped in early modern society. The study points to a number of ways in which the gentry used the power of their offices as a means of advancing their economic interests. Throughout, the thesis assesses the extent of gentry power relative to other groups. This involves an assessment of their interaction with other members of local society, and also of their influence in relation to central government. At the heart of this dissertation is an investigation into the processes of communication between governors, as well as between governors and governed. It shows that policy-decisions resulted from often protracted processes of negotiation and compromise. Effective government required information and, in the context of early modern society, this had to come from those with expert knowledge of local conditions and problems. This meant that superior officeholders were frequently dependent on their subordinates. In this way, the study points to a structural similarity between the government of the landed estate and of the kingdom: in both, government functioned most efficiently when it was collaborative and based on consultation. As such, the study makes a broad contribution to the understanding of early modern state formation, showing that, even in the areas closest to the centres of royal power in Westminster and London, the ability of the crown to impose its will was heavily reliant on the goodwill and active cooperation of gentry officeholders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available