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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.

Abstract only
Tim Shaw

in service offer to children of the gentry? For the daughters of the gentry, education whilst in the household of a social superior or equal is often equated with some training in reading English, various domestic crafts and ‘accomplishment in music’. 41 The exact nature of this musical accomplishment is often hard to pin down; when one reads the source materials this

in Gentry culture in late-medieval England
Abstract only
Jan Broadway

union of both Kingdoms, the Gentry of this Country hath given themselves to idlenesse, luxury and covetousnesse, living not in their own houses, as their ancestors hath done, profusely spending their revenues in other Countries, and hath consumed of late their ancient houses.’ Local historians commented on both public and private aspects of gentry behaviour within the context of local society.16 The elements of gentility stressed by didactic writers were remarkably consistent. In large part this was due to the uniformity of gentry education in this period, which

in ‘No historie so meete’
Jan Broadway

, and their observation of the world was shaped by the assumptions they derived from that literary evidence. The classical emphasis of gentry education and the survival of literary evidence relating to the Roman past led local historians to misinterpret the physical remains they examined. The disinterested study of nature, science and antiquities was to be the work of later generations. Nevertheless, the origins of this development may be seen in the way in which local historians began to carefully observe, measure and describe archaeological remains. They brought to

in ‘No historie so meete’