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Title: The Okeovers, c.1100-c.1300 : a gentry family and their cartulary
Author: Watson, Peter
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis studies the history of a family whose later generations were to become quintessential members of the gentry and how they managed their lands and lives. It is based on the early-fourteenth century cartulary left by Sir Roger of Okeover. The cartulary was probably motivated by Roger's childhood experience of the disputes over the wardship of himself and his lands. The cartulary is supplemented by cognate sources including the cartulary of the Abbey of Burton upon Trent and original documents. These provide an exceptional record stretching back to the early twelfth century and beyond. Chapter 3 argues that the origins of the Okeovers and their occupation of the manor of Okeover, held from the Anglo-Saxon Abbey of Burton, probably predate the Conquest. The Okeovers held lands from several individuals and institutions. Most of the land probably had origins before the Conquest and was held on a basis that later came to be categorised as socage tenure. This differs from land held by military service, a tenurial practice probably introduced by the Normans. This distinction was particularly important in cases of wardship. Chapter 4 shows that the Okeover's vertical social relationships with local magnates, particularly the Ferrers of Tutbury Castle, varied with the strength of the head of the Ferrers family at the time. Chapter 5 argues that the obligation to pay services in cash and to generate a cash income increased the relative independence of the family. Chapter 6 shows that support of younger siblings was an important objective resulting in horizontal alliances with other local families. Chapter 7 examines the problems of financial over-extension the family faced. This history of the Okeovers makes no claim to have produced results that necessarily apply more generally. It does, however, suggest that it would be productive to undertake further research into early twelfth-century deeds distinguishing tenures by socage from those by military service.
Supervisor: Thompson, Benjamin J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; Gentry ; Cartulary ; Social ; Economic ; Derbyshire ; Staffordshire ; Landholdings