Author: John Walter

Early modern England was marked by profound changes in economy, society, politics and religion. It is widely believed that the poverty and discontent which these changes often caused resulted in major rebellion and frequent 'riots'. This book argues for the inherently political nature of popular protest through a series of studies of acts of collective protest, up to and including the English Revolution. Authority was always the first historian of popular protest. Explaining the complex relationship between the poor and their governors, the book overviews popular attitudes to the law and the proper exercise of authority in early modern England. A detailed reconstruction of events centring on grain riots in the Essex port of Maldon in the crisis of 1629 is then presented. Urbanisation, regional specialisation and market integration were the larger changes against which disorder was directed between 1585 and 1649. The book discusses the 'four Ps', population growth, price rise, poverty and protest, explaining their connection with population explosion to poverty and protest. The major European revolts of the so-called 'Oxfordshire rising' are then analysed. Popular politics might deploy 'weapons of the weak' in a form of everyday politics that was less dramatic but more continuous than 'riot'. On the very eve of the Civil War, large crowds, with underemployed clothworkers, attacked and plundered the houses of local Catholics and proto-royalists among the nobility and gentry. In a culture that proscribed protest and prescribed obedience, public transcripts could be used to legitimise a popular political agency.

Maldon and the crisis of 1629
John Walter

Chapter 2 . Grain riots and popular attitudes to the law: Maldon and the crisis of 1629 Nothing more slackens the reins of government, and the stability of peace, which is upheld by the reverent awe and respect which the people and subjects give to the Magistrate, than when by injustice and unworthinesse, they bring their persons and authority under contempt and dislike; but that they seem not as Gods but Idols, which have eares but heare not, eyes but see not, mouths but speak not true judgement. Against such Magistrates, people are prone to think it, not only

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Rachel Stone

poems such as Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon have been found in Roman descriptions of barbarians, 5 Scandinavian and Celtic texts, 6 French chansons de geste 7 and even wider afield. 8 Yet the sources of Carolingian Francia have rarely been used in this way. 9 This is surprising, since more Carolingian secular poetry survives than Old English, 10 although it has been relatively little studied. 11 There is

in Frankland
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Reconstructing popular political culture in early modern England
John Walter

against which the authorities were largely helpless) with harvest failure and the political crisis following Charles I’s dismissal of Parliament, that explain the hanging of Ann Carter (chapter 2). This was an exceptional response in the history of early modern food riots. While a local study allows us to recover something of Ann Carter’s character and history and to understand how this both resulted in her leading the protest and subsequently being targeted by Maldon’s rulers, it was the coincidence of economic and political crisis that helped to determine her fate. If

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Edward James

were preserved in the memory of Icelandic bards and story-tellers – or created with their imaginative art – and written down sometime after 1200. To what extent was early medieval heroism rewritten in the light of later realities? A much-quoted study of the literary motif of the loyal retainer preferring to die with his king rather than surrender suggests that, since it does not surface in the sources between Tacitus in the first century AD and The Battle of Maldon poem of the eleventh century, it may in Maldon be more a reflection of the burgeoning knightly

in Early medieval militarisation
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This England: race, nation, patriotism
Patrick Collinson

modalities of sale and distribution, but such questions can never be answered with any precision. In these circumstances, historians are dependent upon anecdotes, but anecdotes can be very indicative, if they are not made to do more than they are capable of. So here is one such story, which takes us back to about 1540, told in later life by a man called William Maldon, a native of Chelmsford in Essex. In his youth, Maldon met up with ‘dyveres poore men’ who had bought a New Testament and on Sundays sat reading it in the lower end of the church, and ‘many wolde floke about

in This England
Michel Summer

Maldon and Heroic Literature’, in D. Scragg (ed.), The Battle of Maldon AD 991 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991), pp. 196–207. 83 D. Petts, Pagan and Christian. Religious change in Early Medieval Europe (London: Bristol Classical Press, 2011), pp. 104–5; Brather, ‘Lokale Herren’, pp. 567–8. 84 F

in Early medieval militarisation
John Walter

bound for Reading in 1630, was one of the few grain markets in Berkshire. Reading, the scene of disorder in the following year, was an important entrepôt for the London grain trade. Canterbury acted as a funnel through which downland grain was channelled, while, in Essex, Maldon increasingly served as a clearing port for its rural hinterland. It was at this level of urban development that grain riots were most likely. Though 71 Walter_04_Ch3.indd 71 31/8/06 08:59:40 Popular politics in early modern England their levels of poverty were shared by the larger towns

in Crowds and popular politics in early modern England
Jill Fitzgerald

heavenly father has greatly avenged him.] After lavishing praises upon Edward (now, Edward ‘the Martyr’) and accusing his ‘eorðlican banan’ (earthly slayers) of treachery (and his kin of cowardice), the chronicler notes that his brother, Æthelred ‘feng … to rice’ (Æthelred succeeded to the kingdom). The C version of the ASC tells us that just two years later, a ‘norðscipherige’ (northern fleet) unleashed its fury upon both Southampton and Cheshire. Subsequent viking raids receive further documentation and increased attention from then on: through Maldon in 991, the

in Rebel angels
Richard Allen Cave

of magnanimity. The scene where O’Hara wields his pistols and cudgels deserves close scrutiny. Maldon, a client, has pushed a young man, Charlcote, into owing him a gambling debt which he cannot afford to pay and is demanding the hand of Charlcote’s sister in marriage, which has been Maldon’s real objective all along. Learning O’Hara has suppressed or held up various writs and actions that he

in Acts of supremacy