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Author: Simon Walker

Simon Walker studied modern history at Magdelen College, Oxford, graduating with first-class honours in 1979. When Walker began researching the retinue of John of Gaunt in 1980, 'bastard feudalism' had been the subject of debate for thirty-five years. A study of John of Gaunt's retinue could be expected to throw important, if not decisive, light on these problems. For not only was his the largest retinue in late medieval England, but for thirty years the duke himself had a dominant role in the domestic, military and diplomatic policy of England. In 1994, Michael Jones and Walker published for the Camden Society an edition of all the surviving private life indentures for peace and war apart from those of John of Gaunt and William, Lord Hastings. Walker's introduction to the volume reviewed the evolution of life indentures, the range of services they embraced, the regulation of obligations for service and reward, and the changing role of such indentures over the period 1278-1476. From these broad investigations into the balance of power between magnates and gentry, Walker returned to examine how, in individual cases, two men from different backgrounds built their careers on noble and royal patronage. Walker then turned to examine the retrospective view of the 1399 revolution in literate culture. He used case studies to build up a picture of collective mentalities among different social grades and vocational worlds, hoping ultimately to construct a new approach to the tensions and strength of the late medieval polity.

Author: Heather Blatt

Reorienting the narrative of digital media studies to incorporate the medieval, Participatory reading in late-medieval England traces affinities between digital and medieval media to explore how participation defined reading practices and shaped relations between writers and readers in England’s literary culture from the late-fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. Traditionally, print operates as the comparative touchstone of both medieval and digital media, but Participatory reading argues that the latter share more in common with each other than either does with print. Working on the borders of digital humanities, medieval cultural studies, and the history of the book, Participatory reading draws on well-known and little-studied works ranging from Chaucer to banqueting poems and wall-texts to demonstrate how medieval writers and readers engaged with practices familiar in digital media today, from crowd-sourced editing to nonlinear apprehension to mobility, temporality, and forensic materiality illuminate. Writers turned to these practices in order to both elicit and control readers’ engagement with their works in ways that would benefit the writers’ reputations along with the transmission and interpretation of their texts, while readers pursued their own agendas—which could conflict with or set aside writers’ attempts to frame readers’ work. The interactions that gather around participatory reading practices reflect concerns about authority, literacy, and media formats, before and after the introduction of print. Participatory reading is of interest to students and scholars of medieval literature, book, and reading history, in addition to those interested in the long history of media studies.

Simon Walker

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
Author: Martin Heale

This book offers a range of new perspectives on the character and reputation of English monasteries in the later middle ages. The later middle ages was an era of evolution in English monastic life in late medieval England. The book surveys the internal affairs of English monasteries, including recruitment, the monastic economy, and the standards of observance and learning. It looks at the relations between monasteries and the world, exploring the monastic contribution to late medieval religion and society and lay attitudes towards monks and nuns in the years leading up to the Dissolution. The book covers both male and female houses of all orders and sizes. The late medieval 'reforms' of the Benedictine Order included a relaxation of observances on diet, the common life and private property, and little of the Cistercians' primitive austerity can be found in late medieval houses of the order. Monastic spirituality can rarely be accessed through visitation evidence or administrative records, although an impression of the devotional climate within individual houses is occasionally provided by monastic chronicles. Looking beyond the statistics of foundation and dissolution alone, levels of support for the monastic ideal in late medieval England might also be assessed from the evidence of lay patronage of existing houses.

Simon Walker

The ‘county community’ in later medieval England enjoyed a brief but influential vogue during the 1980s, lasting roughly from Nigel Saul’s Knights and Esquires (published in 1981), a study of the Gloucestershire gentry in the fourteenth century, to Simon Payling’s Political Society in Lancastrian England (published in 1991), a study (despite its title) of the Nottinghamshire gentry in the first half of the fifteenth. This vogue was partly the consequence of a kind of intellectual overspill from the early modern period, then suffering from a glut of such

in Political culture in later medieval England
Anthony Musson

Amateur and professional judges 2 The role of amateur and professional judges in the royal courts of late medieval England Anthony Musson The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries witnessed a rapid expansion in the scope of royal justice in England. The growing demand for legal remedies and the need to enforce public order led to an expansion in the activities of the Westminster courts and in the increasing provision of judicial commissions (some ad hoc, others on a more regular basis) in the shires.1 The expansion was inevitably accompanied by the need for a

in Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200–1700
Editors: Glenn Burger and Rory Critten

This collection of nine new chapters investigates how the late medieval household acts as a sorter, user, and disseminator of different kinds of ready information, from the traditional and authoritative to the innovative and newly made. Building on established work on the noble and royal ‘great household’, as well as on materialist historiography on rural and bourgeois domestic life, Household Knowledges considers bourgeois, gentry, and collegiate households on both sides of the English Channel. Arguing that the relationship between the domestic experience and the forms assumed by that experience’s cultural expression is both dynamic and reciprocal, the chapters in this volume address a range of cultural productions, including conduct texts, romances and comic writing, agricultural and estates management literature, devotional and medical writing, household music and drama, and manuscript anthologies. Contributors develop a range of methodologies, drawing on insights generated by recent manuscript scholarship as well as on innovations in affect theory and object relations theory; their chapters reconsider the constitution of the late-medieval urban and gentry home by practices of writing and reading, translation and language use, and manuscript compilation, as well as by the development of complex object–human relations and the adaptation of traditional gender and class roles. Together, the studies compiled in Household Knowledges provide a fresh illustration of the imaginative scope of the late medieval household, of its extensive internal and external connections, and of its fundamental centrality—both as an idea and a reality—to late-medieval cultural production.

Maureen Mulholland

Trials in manorial courts 4 Trials in manorial courts in late medieval England Maureen Mulholland A legal historian approaching the history of the manorial courts is aware that the comprehensive literature of the manor has been primarily concerned with the social, economic or political significance of the manor court. The rolls have been a rich source of research into the nature of medieval society, including questions of personal status, family structures, lordship, demography and social relationships, as well as the practice of agriculture and land

in Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200–1700
Charles V. Phythian-Adams
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library

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.