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Richard Cust and Peter Lake

recognised that within the fast-developing politics of the public sphere the widest possible mobilisation of support could be considered not only legitimate but highly advantageous.17 Aston’s main tactic for gaining mass support in the shire was to play down the content of what he knew would be a controversial petition and instead present it as a measure to re-establish the gentry’s role as spokesmen for the county. In doing this he was able to draw on the social and cultural make-up of the shire in which notions of a semi-autonomous county community and gentry class

in Gentry culture and the politics of religion
Maldon and the crisis of 1629
John Walter

. When the justices found their efforts to regulate the clothiers thwarted by the assize judges, they in their turn informed them of the weavers’ discontent, reminded them of the earlier disorder, cited the government’s instructions to prevent any repetition of riot, and ended with the veiled threat that ‘if some what bee not presently done wee shall not bee able to keepe these poore people in quiett’.115 The memory of 1629 became part of the currency of political discourse within the county community. When, by the spring of 1631, the renewed crisis was at its peak, the

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Anthony Musson

(eds), The English Rising of 1381 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 182–3. 51 For instance, eyres proclaimed in Kent and Durham in 1333: Crook, ‘Later eyres’, p. 265; F. Bryant, ‘The financial dealings of Edward III with the county communities’, EHR , 83 (1968), pp. 763

in Medieval law in context