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From Chaucer’s representations of the Knight and the Squire in the General Prologue one might deduce that domestic politics and administration formed no part of the gentry’s existence. The Knight spends his time, when not on pilgrimage, fighting for Christendom in far-flung places; his son has also seen military service abroad, but pursues ‘courtly love’ with at least

in Gentry culture in late-medieval England

This book assesses the English national war effort during the Anglo-Spanish war (1585–1603), examining wartime government in a wide-ranging set of contexts. It looks first at political problems: the structure of the wartime state, popular attitudes to the war and the government’s efforts to influence them, resistance to demands, and the problems of governing a country divided in religion and a regime deeply fearful of the future. It then assesses the machinery in practice, looking at the work of the central regime under the Queen herself alongside the local government machinery of lord lieutenancies which carried the demands of the centre into the counties, towns and parishes of England. These mechanisms of rule were crucial to the success of the war effort, by providing troops to fight overseas, running the militia which defended against the Spanish Armada (1588) and other invasion attempts and paying for them both through local taxes. The book draws evidence and case studies from across the country and from politics and government at all levels, from the court and Privy Council to the counties and parishes, but it seeks to examine England as a single polity. In this way it ranges much more widely than the war alone and provides a new assessment of the effectiveness of the Elizabethan state as a whole. It challenges many existing assumptions about the weakness of the state in the face of military change, finding a political system in much better health than has previously been thought.

The mental world of a seventeenth-century Catholic gentleman

This book examines the activities of William Blundell, a seventeenth-century Catholic gentleman, and using the approaches of the history of reading provides a detailed analysis of his mindset. Blundell was neither the passive victim nor the entirely loyal subject that he and others have claimed. He actively defended his family from the penal laws and used the relative freedom that this gave him to patronise other Catholics. In his locality, Blundell ensured that the township of Little Crosby was populated almost entirely by his co-religionists, on a national level he constructed and circulated arguments supporting the removal of the penal laws, and on an international level he worked as an agent for the Poor Clares of Rouen. That he cannot be defined solely by his victimhood is further supported by his commonplace notes. Not only did Blundell rewrite the histories of recent civil conflicts to show that Protestants were prone to rebellion and Catholics to loyalty, but we also find a different perspective on his religious beliefs. His commonplaces suggest an underlying tension with aspects of Catholicism that is manifest throughout his notes on his practical engagement with the world, in which it is clear that he was wrestling with the various aspects of his identity. This examination of Blundell's political and cultural worlds complicates generalisations about early modern religious identities.

At one period two distinct tombs containing Esmiss Esmoor’s remains were reported.: one by the tannery, the other up near the goods station. Mr. McBryde visited them both and saw signs of the beginning of a cult – earthenware saucers and so on. Being an experienced official, he did nothing to irritate it, and after a week or so, the rash died down. ‘There’s propaganda behind all this,’ he said … 1 This paper is an investigation of the nature of political society in later medieval England, though the angle from which it approaches the question will be

in Political culture in later medieval England

Archbishop Wulfstan of York is among the most important legal and political thinkers of the early Middle Ages. A leading ecclesiastic, innovative legislator, and influential royal councilor, Wulfstan witnessed firsthand the violence and social unrest that culminated in the fall of the English monarchy before the invading armies of Cnut in 1016. This book introduces the range of Wulfstan's political writings and sheds light on the development of English law during the early eleventh century. In his homilies and legal tracts, Wulfstan offered a searing indictment of the moral failures that led to England’s collapse and formulated a vision of an ideal Christian community that would influence English political thought long after the Anglo-Saxon period had ended. More than just dry political theory, however, Wulfstan’s works are composed in the distinctive voice of someone who was both a confidante of kings and a preacher of apocalyptic fervour. No other source so vividly portrays the political life of eleventh-century England: what it was, and what one man believed it could be.

PART II Politics in performance O ne of the continuing appeals of popular theatre, in particular pantomime and melodrama, was topical referencing, allusions to people and events in the news, the latest fads and fashions, popular products and venues, scandals and sensations. But the producers and writers of stage works had to be careful not to invite interference from the censors. From 1737 to 1968 the stage functioned under the oversight of the Lord Chamberlain’s office and had to conform to a strict set of regulations designed to preserve moral standards and

in Politics, performance and popular culture
A higher loyalty

This book argues that the current problems over Britain’s membership of the European Union are largely as a result of the absence of quality debates during the 1959–84 period. The situation today is also attributed to members of the political elite subordinating the question of Britain’s future in Europe to short-term, pragmatic, party management or career considerations. A particular and original interpretation of Britain and Europe is advanced, aided by recently discovered evidence. This includes the methods used by the Conservative government to ensure it won the vote following the 1971 parliamentary debate on Britain’s proposed entry into the EEC. It also delves into the motives of the sixty-nine rebel Labour MPs that voted against their own party on EEC membership, and how the British public were largely misled by political leaders in respect of the true aims of the European project. This is a study of a seminal period in Britain’s relationship with Europe. Starting from the British government’s early attempts at EEC membership, and concluding with the year both major political parties accepted Britain’s place in Europe, this book examines decision-making in Britain. As such, it contributes to a greater understanding of British politics. It answers a number of key questions and casts light on the current toxic dilemma on the issue of Europe.

This book draws on original research into women’s workplace protest to deliver a new account of working-class women’s political identity and participation in post-war England. In doing so, the book contributes a fresh understanding of the relationship between feminism, workplace activism and trade unionism during the years 1968–85. The study covers a period that has been identified with the ‘zenith’ of trade union militancy. The women’s liberation movement (WLM) also emerged in this period, which produced a shift in public debates about gender roles and relations in the home and the workplace. Industrial disputes involving working-class women have been commonly understood as evidence of women’s growing participation in the labour movement, and as evidence of the influence of second-wave feminism on working-class women’s political consciousness. However, the voices and experiences of female workers who engaged in workplace protest remain largely unexplored. The book addresses this space through detailed analysis of four industrial disputes that were instigated by working-class women. It shows that labour force participation was often experienced or viewed as a claim to political citizenship in late modern England. A combination of oral history and written sources is used to illuminate how everyday experiences of gender and class antagonism shaped working-class women’s political identity and participation.

The Reverend William Richardson

‘I love controversy’ claimed the Reverend William Richardson (1740-1820). Though a rural Irish rector, Richardson was a clerical polymath with wide-ranging interests in botany and geology who had international connections at the highest level. This book explores all the dimensions of Richardson’s extraordinary scientific career and assesses his interventions in Irish loyalist politics at the time of the 1798 rebellion. He was a prolific writer who contributed to the debate on the origin of basalt at the Giant’s Causeway, refuting claims that it was volcanic. His main project, however, was agricultural improvement. He argued that the adoption of, Irish fiorin grass, a plant which flourished on bog-land, would help reclaim wastelands throughout Britain and enable farmers to make hay in wintertime. Though considered mad for attempting to overturn the conventional wisdom of ‘making hay while the sun shines’ Richardson was supported by leading British scientists like Sir Humphry Davy and Sir Joseph Banks. In truth he sits at the intersection between provincial and metropolitan science and his overall historical importance, like his career, is diverse. His scientific empiricism meant that he offered an alternative voice to that of the loyalist propagandist, Sir Richard Musgrave. Even more significantly, in the aftermath of legislative union, Richardson recommended Irish agriculture to remedy Britain’s economic predicament during the ‘war of resources’ phase of the Napoleonic wars.

The CDC’s mission to Cold War East Pakistan, 1958

1 The uneasy politics of epidemic aid: the CDC's mission to Cold War East Pakistan, 1958 Paul Greenough Epidemic outbreaks, political struggle, civil society response Historians warn against narratives in which actors are spared the dilemmas of chance and choice. No doubt prolepsis, anachronism and teleology should be avoided, but I find it difficult to tell a story

in The politics of vaccination