After many years at the margins of historical investigation, the late medieval English gentry are widely regarded as an important and worthy subject for academic research. This book aims to explore the culture of the wide range of people whom we might include within the late medieval gentry, taking in all of landed society below the peerage, from knights down to gentlemen, and including those aspirants to gentility who might under traditional socio-economic terms be excluded from the group. It begins by exploring the origins of, and influences on, the culture of the late medieval gentry, thus contributing to the ongoing debate on defining the membership of this group. The book considers the gentry's emergence as a group distinct from the nobility, and looks at the various available routes to gentility. Through surveys of the gentry's military background, administrative and political roles, social behaviour, and education, it seeks to provide an overview of how the group's culture evolved, and how it was disseminated. The book offers a broad view of late medieval gentry culture, which explores, reassesses and indeed sometimes even challenges the idea that members of the gentry cultivated their own distinctive cultural identity. The evolution of the gentleman as a peer-assessed phenomenon, gentlemanly behaviour within the chivalric tradition, the education received by gentle children, and the surviving gentry correspondence are also discussed. Although the Church had an ambivalent attitude toward artistic expression, much of the gentry's involvement with the visual arts was religious in focus.

Raluca Radulescu and Alison Truelove

underestimated; government was a principal route to gentility for those not born into the gentry, but also led to interactions which resulted in reciprocal influences on culture between those from different backgrounds. Nicholas Orme in Chapter 4 surveys the education received by gentle children, drawing on his substantial research into medieval childhood and schooling, thus continuing the

in Gentry culture in late-medieval England
Nicholas Orme

children probably played in much the same way as ordinary children, but with more expensive toys and games, conveying a sense of wealth and privilege. It seems unlikely that they played with their social inferiors on equal terms. Such play would have undermined the social hierarchy, so either gentle children played together or, if they played with lesser children, did so in ways that kept their status

in Gentry culture in late-medieval England
Constructing the contest in Barbados, 1958–66
Rochelle Rowe

everybody has extensions, I don’t know how they can cope because sometimes they are so itchy and everything. I know sometimes it helps, they say that it helps if you want to ‘rest’ your hair. I’m not really one of these people, although I had two wigs when I used to fly and they were very natural-looking wigs. I used to straighten my hair – right now sometimes I just go natural or if I straighten it I use the [gentler] children’s straightener because my dad was, black, but my mum was ‘Indian’, y’know mulatto; white – black, that kind of thing. So I mean I am not fish or

in Imagining Caribbean womanhood