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Title: Networks of power in southeast Scotland, circa 1370-1420
Author: Hall, Anne Creevey
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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This study is an analysis of the structure of power, predominantly political, in southeast Scotland between the closing years of David II’s reign and 1420. In addition to the chronological treatment and a consideration of the interface between the landed nobility and the urban elite, several family histories of second rank nobility, specifically Haliburton, Preston, Forrester, Sinclair earls of Orkney, Sinclairs of Herdmanston, Edmonston and Grierson, are used to illuminate the method of attaining influence. The thesis’ argument is that the region lacked a dominant power and that this permitted a competitive-cooperative system, which created opportunities of advancement for the second rank nobility. Five main points of power existed: the Crown, the earls of Angus, Douglas and March, and a fluid group of second rank nobility. All were capable of acting independently, in concert with one or more of the others, or with subsets within one of the others. Success in this system demanded multiple contacts, an ability to use or ignore contacts as the situation demanded, an ability to extend power either directly or indirectly through subordinates and, ideally, access to the economic and administrative levers held by Crown officers or burghal contacts. Direct involvement of Robert II and III was marginal and indirect power through the magnates or lieutenants was typical. In the 1370s the demand for cooperation in the face of the external, English threat tempered internal competition. This changed during the 1380s and internal competition became predominant. By 1406, the collapse of the majority of alternate centres of power, including an attempt to form a royal affinity, permitted Douglas a near-monopoly of power during the Albany government. However, alternate channels of power remained; the continued contact with James I, negotiated settlements with the earl of March and the Duke of Albany, the resurgence of the earl of Angus and the usage of administrative structures by men whose alliance with Douglas was fundamentally pragmatic demonstrate the temporary nature of Douglas ascendancy in this era.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available