By Eric Acheson
This booklet examines the fifteenth-century gentry of Leicestershire lower than 5 wide headings: as landholders, as contributors of a social group in accordance with the county, as members in and leaders of the govt. of the shire, as contributors of the broader family and, eventually, as contributors. Economically assertive, they have been additionally socially cohesive, this harmony being supplied through the shire neighborhood. The shire additionally supplied an important political unit, managed via an oligarchy of more suitable gentry households who have been rather self sufficient of outdoor interference. the elemental social unit was once the , yet exterior affects, supplied by way of difficulty for the broader relatives, the lineage or financial and political development, weren't significant determinants of relatives method. Individualism one of the gentry used to be already verified by means of the 15th century, revealing its team of workers as a confident and assured stratum in past due medieval English society.
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Extra resources for A Gentry Community: Leicestershire in the Fifteenth Century, c.1422-c.1485
179. , v, p. 360. 8 * V. C. H. Essex, 11, p. 175; H. W. King, 'Ancient wills', Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, 1, 146, 1878, pp. 147—50. 86 V. C. H. , in, pp. 143-6. 89 Nevertheless, William, lord Lovel, was regularly appointed to Leicestershire commissions of the peace until his death in 1455, and although his son and heir, John, appears not to have taken the same interest in the county, the William Lovel, knight, who was appointed to the commissions of the peace in 1456 and 1457 was probably John's young brother, the lord Morley.
In fifteenth-century Leicestershire this was no less true of William Hastings than it was, say, of the lords Roos and Beaumont. Leicestershire, therefore, provides us with an interesting area in which to study the fifteenth-century gentry. There were no great 115 J. R. , 32, 1959, p. , 1461-7, pp. , 1461-8, p. 61. , 1461^7, pp. 103-4; ibid-* 1467-^77, p. 26. 117 See above, p. 22. 116 27 A gentry community monasteries to dominate, and therefore complicate, local society and politics. The king, as duke of Lancaster, was an absentee landlord.
Any movement beyond this point will produce provisos, qualifications and, eventually, disagreement. Unfortunately, if we look back beyond the sixteenth century, our single point of agreement ceases to hold as well, and we are still left with the question, who or what were the gentry? Perhaps the best way to resolve our problem is to adopt an atomistic approach and to trace the formation of the gentry as a status group through the development of its component parts. The origins of the English gentry can be found in AngloNorman society as it developed after the Conquest and, particularly, in the Anglo-Norman knight whose knighthood indicated that he had successfully completed his military apprenticeship.
A Gentry Community: Leicestershire in the Fifteenth Century, c.1422-c.1485 by Eric Acheson