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Gentry Perceptions of Violence in Fourteenth-Century England

McLaughlin, Rhian Elizabeth (2014) Gentry Perceptions of Violence in Fourteenth-Century England. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis is an examination of gentry perceptions of violence in fourteenth-century England. It is intended to demonstrate the potential for advancing studies of this nature by combining literary and legal evidence. It is also the aim of this thesis to advance understanding of late-medieval gentry violence by moving beyond focusing on one geographical area, and instead engaging in comparison of different counties, namely Hampshire, Nottinghamshire and Cumberland. This enables an assessment of the impact of different local pressures on gentry perceptions of violence. Ultimately this investigation shows that there was little variety in terms of gentry perceptions of violence nationwide, despite differing local circumstances. Part One of the thesis begins with an introduction to elite society and the balance of power in fourteenth-century Hampshire, Nottinghamshire and Cumberland. It demonstrates that these counties were sufficiently different to enable a meaningful consideration of how far local circumstances affected gentry perceptions of violence. The service engaged in by the sample gentry is then considered. This consideration shows that the sample gentry did not develop a clear preference for military or administrative service and provides a basis for investigation of the impact of different forms of service on perceptions of violence. Part Two commences with the use of legal evidence to provide a range of potential motivations for gentry violence. This is then combined with literary evidence to show that gentry perceptions of violence were affected by motivation, victim, the level of violence, and any impact the violence had on them. The thesis concludes by showing that the gentry did not regard violence as something which was likely to hinder their careers, or a direct affront to the crown. Nonetheless, they did wish for violence to be limited and justified in order to preserve stability.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Gentry Violence Law Literature Fourteenth-Century England
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.639000
Depositing User: Miss Rhian Elizabeth McLaughlin
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2015 11:16
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8137

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