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Title: Knights and merchants : English cities and the aristocracy, 1377-1509
Author: Graham, Tom
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 5895
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines how English towns and townsmen interacted with the aristocracy in the late middle ages. To do so, it compares the experiences and behaviour of four towns and their inhabitants across a 'long' fifteenth century running from 1377 until 1509. These four examples - Exeter, Norwich, Salisbury and Southampton - represent a cross-section of important provincial towns, with each providing a different picture because of their differing contexts and circumstances, particularly the contrasting political societies of the counties which surrounded them. The first half of the study considers links between individual townsmen and aristocrats. In particular, it discusses the patterns displayed by both groups' property ownership as well as their involvement in royal government, before investigating direct connections which existed between them. It concludes that although links did emerge between these groups, most were short-lived and had few political or social implications. The exception was a group on the boundary of gentility, including lawyers, administrators, royal servants and a small number of prosperous townsmen. These men moved relatively easily between town and country and often had interests in both spheres, but their activities rarely combined the ‘aristocratic' and the 'urban'. In addition, their low status in landed society meant that they rarely drew wider urban and aristocratic society into contact. The second part of the thesis examines the relationship between aristocrats and town governments. It argues that aristocrats could provide significant benefits to towns, but only if they possessed national influence and local authority. This combination was originally exclusive to regional magnates, but the 'new monarchy' empowered progressively minor figures, and towns ultimately preferred to seek the aid of these junior men. It also argues that aristocrats received some benefit to their prestige and worship from helping towns, and that magnates were perhaps even expected to do so by both towns and the king.
Supervisor: Watts, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available