Search results

Chapter 5 . Fashionable society in ‘these our cloudy days’ I f Westminster had been famously a ‘royal city’, it was also renowned, as James Howell noted, as the residence of ‘most of the Nobility and Gentry’, and increasingly as a focus for a fashionable ‘season’ that embraced many more elite visitors. Historians have traditionally seen the 1640s and 1650s as a time when, with the royal court abandoned and the neighbourhood subjected to the years of wartime disruption, followed by those of puritan regulation, the gentry season and fashionable society of the

in Westminster 1640–60

The social world of early modern Westminster Chapter 5 The rise of a fashionable society I live i’ th’Strand . . . I’ll have My house the academy of wits, who shall . . . Write panegyrics of my feasts . . . The horses shall be taught, with frequent waiting Upon my gates to stop in their career Toward Charing Cross . . . my balcony Shall be the courtier’s idol, and more gazed at Than all the pageantry at Temple Bar By country clients.1 O declares Celestina in James Shirley’s play The Lady of Pleasure, staged in 1635. Her words evoke the way in which

in The social world of early modern Westminster
A royal city in a time of revolution

This book examines the varied and fascinating ways in which the series of non-monarchical regimes of England’s civil wars and interregnum interacted with the unique locality and community of Westminster. Westminster (as opposed to London) was traditionally viewed as the ‘royal’ city – the site of Whitehall Palace and the royal courts of justice, its Abbey reputed to be the ‘house of kings’, and its inhabitants assumed to be instinctive followers of the monarch and the royal court. Westminster emerges in this study as a site of extraordinary ambiguities and juxtapositions. The promoters of vigorous moral reformation and a sustained and often intrusive military presence coexisted uneasily with the area’s distinctive forms of elite sociability and luxury. The state’s foremost godly preachers performed in close proximity to royalist churchmen. More generally, the forces of political, religious and cultural conservatism can be observed on the very doorstep of parliament and non-monarchical regimes. Yet for Westminster as a whole, this was the time when the locality became tied to the state more tightly than ever before, while at key moments the town’s distinctive geography and local government played a significant role in shaping the political crises of the period. Chapters analyse the crisis of 1640-42, the use of Westminster’s iconic buildings and spaces by the non-monarchical regimes, the sustained military occupation of the locality, the problems of political allegiance and local government, the religious divisions and practices of the period, and the problematic revival of fashionable society in a time of political tension.

Abbey, court and community 1525–1640

Early modern Westminster is familiar as the location of the Royal Court at Whitehall, parliament, the law courts and the emerging West End, yet it has never been studied in its own right. This book reveals the often problematic relations between the diverse groups of people who constituted local society - the Court, the aristocracy, the Abbey, the middling sort and the poor - and the competing visions of Westminster's identity which their presence engendered. There were four parishes in Westminster at the turn of the sixteenth century. The parishes of St Martin's and St Margaret's have been identified as two of only eighteen English parishes for which continuous and detailed parish records survive for the turbulent period 1535-1570. Differences in social organization, administrative structure and corporate life in the two parishes also provide a study in contrasts. These crucial differences partly shaped forms of lay piety in each parish as well as their very different responses to the religious reformations of Henry VIII and his children. The death of Henry VIII heralded important changes in Westminster. Most strikingly, however, this was a period of major religious change, in stark contrast to the piecemeal changes of Henry's reign. The dissolution of Westminster's abbey gave rise to special problems. The book examines individuals who wielded the most influence at the local government; as well as the social identity of these parish elites. Finally, it explores the interaction of religion with the social and political developments observed in the post-Reformation town.

Abstract only

in the form of forbidden Christmas services presided over by ‘malignant’ ministers a stone’s throw from parliament in 1647, or in the form of royalist sermons delivered by ‘Anglican’ ministers beneficed in the supposed ‘parish church of the House of Commons’ in 1657. The apparent persistence of fashionable society and more ­conservative forms of religious life should not, however, blind us to the remarkably different context in which these operated. Not the least important of these contextual features was the fact that Westminster in the 1650s experienced a more

in Westminster 1640–60
Abstract only

service sector and encouraging the numbers of luxury retailers. The presence of the royal Court also acted as a magnet for the gentry and the developing fashionable society. The later seventeenth century would see the gradual withdrawal of the royal Court from this heavily urbanized area to the peripheries of the metropolis. But the period between the Reformation and the Civil War was a distinctive phase in the history of the relationship between the Crown and the metropolis. Entrenched in a busy urban centre, the Crown’s increasing sensitivities as a Westminster

in The social world of early modern Westminster
Abstract only

regimes, or the development of fashionable society all share a principal focus on events in Westminster. The failure to establish their common topographical context, however, has led to atomized, separate historiographies, and the interplay of these different forces has therefore not been analysed. Westminster in this period was the location not only of the organs and personnel of government, but also of the military forces required to defend it, of the buildings and spaces in which its power and legitimacy were displayed, and also of the nation’s fashionable elite

in Westminster 1640–60
Abstract only

H. H. Munro (1870-1916) - ‘Saki’, the satirist of Edwardian fashionable society - developed the theme of decadence and distaste for military service in When William Came, published in 1914. William is the Kaiser. The book displays the same hard, epigrammatic brilliance as the author’s short stories. It describes the results of a German invasion of England launched and completed between a Saturday and a Friday. Munro’s political tendencies would in the 1980’s be described as ‘fascist’. Like Childers in The Riddle of the

in 'At duty’s call'

history in contemporary museums in Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere. Across social history or material history or fashion/design there seem to be great chasms and voids. These different disciplines and objects are all aspects of daily life, yet conventional history museums separate them out. I am interested in ‘the fashionable’, as well as high fashion and design.48 Many displays of colonial history focus on dress and fashionable society yet they are seen as decorative arts displays rather than being about history and daily, or should I say ‘evening’, life. At many

in Curatopia
Class and consumption at mid century

. The money that the gents spend in readymade clothes shops, Smith A ‘Chamber of Horrors’: class and consumption at mid century  143 6.5  Unknown wood engraver after a drawing by Archibald Henning, untitled wood engraving from Albert Smith, The Natural History of the Gent (London: D. Bogue, 1847), p. 22. implies in his volume on ‘stuck-up’ people, contributes to the presence of rich Jews on the fringes of fashionable society. When the Spangle Lacquer family host an evening party Mr and Mrs Fitzmoses are the last guests to arrive – a move which they calculate

in Novelty fair