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The Essex gentry 1381-1450

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:44 authored by Christopher. Starr
The subject of this thesis is the gentry of Essex during the years 1381-1450, with particular reference to their lifestyle.;The thesis may be divided into seven sections. The first puts the gentry into context; it discusses the history, geology, geography, economy and population of the county and the effect that landscapes or pays may have had on gentry societies. The following terms are devised to describe the county's topography: Essex Highlands, Lowlands, Heathlands and Marshlands. The second section deals with the origins and development of the Essex gentry and employs the following terms to describe them: principal (regional), greater (county) and lesser (parish) gentry.;Section three considers the county community controversy and analyses the work of scholars who have worked in this field: it also describes the complex organisation of gentry communities within county society as a whole. The fourth section is a case study that observes the career of Clement Spice and his entry into gentry society by means of a successful career as a lawyer.;Section five focuses on the home and religious life of the gentry with particular reference to Richard Baynard of Messing and the chantry tomb of Sir John Hawkwood of Sible Hedingham. The sixth section considers the wealth of the Essex gentry through an analysis of the subsidy of 1412; it also discusses the acquisition of wealth with reference to the Tyrell family of Heron Hall, East Horndon between c. 1250 and c. 1450. The conclusion attempts to describe the particularity of the Essex gentry and to focus on gentry as individuals.


Date of award


Author affiliation

English Local History

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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    University of Leicester Theses