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War, Government and Aristocracy in the British Isles, c.1150-1500

War, Government and Aristocracy in the British Isles, c.1150-1500: Essays in Honour of Michael Prestwich

Chris Given-Wilson
Ann Kettle
Len Scales
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 336
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81qn8
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  • Book Info
    War, Government and Aristocracy in the British Isles, c.1150-1500
    Book Description:

    Crown-magnate relations, the Anglo-Scottish, Anglo-French and Anglo-Irish wars, national and local finance and administration and the nature of late medieval kingship are among the principal themes explored in this volume, along with aristocratic consumption, historical writing, chivalric culture and a review of recent work on crusading history. All newly commissioned from distinguished scholars, they shed new light on late medieval British political, military and governmental history. CONTRIBUTORS: NICHOLAS VINCENT, DAVID CARPENTER, M. L. HOLFORD, ARCHIE DUNCAN, MATTHEW STRICKLAND, BJORN WEILER, ROBIN FRAME, ANDY KING, W. MARK ORMROD, G. L. HARRISS, NORMAN HOUSLEY, ANNE CURRY, MAURICE KEEN, WENDY CHILDS

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-679-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xvi)
    Chris Given-Wilson, Ann Kettle and Len Scales

    As the only child of two celebrated Oxford historians, one of whom (J. O. Prestwich) specialised in the twelfth century and the other (born Menna Roberts) in the sixteenth and seventeenth, it might be thought that there was something preordained about Michael Prestwich’s decision to devote his academic career to study of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Born in Oxford in 1943, he was educated at Charterhouse before reading history at Magdalen College Oxford, from which he graduated with first-class honours in 1964. He undertook research for his doctorate at Christ Church, where he was firstly Senior Scholar, then Research...

  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Did Henry II Have a Policy Towards The Earls?
    (pp. 1-25)
    Nicholas Vincent

    Traditionally, the court of Henry II has been viewed in stark and ‘English’ contrast to the artifice and ceremony, the peers and plumage, of Capetian France. Only in recent years has it become apparent that Henry’s reign witnessed the emergence in England of an ever-widening gap of privilege between the high aristocracy and those lower down the social pecking order. The chief authors of this revolution in our understanding – David Crouch and Judith Green (herself a product of the Prestwich training academy) – have demonstrated the degree to which the outer trappings of appearance and conduct mattered to the...

  7. The Career of Godfrey of Crowcombe: Household Knight of King John and Steward of King Henry III
    (pp. 26-54)
    David Carpenter

    A major theme in the work of Michael Prestwich, as in that of his father, J. O. Prestwich, has been the importance of the king’s household knights. In his first book, War, Politics and Finance under Edward I, published in 1972, Michael asked and answered such key questions as ‘how were [knights] recruited for the household, how long did they serve, and what were their rewards?’¹ He showed that the knights, a body about 100 strong in 1284–5, formed the core of royal armies, and ‘might also be used on matters of state quite unconnected with the business of...

  8. Under-Sheriffs, The State and Local Society c.1300–1340: A Preliminary Survey
    (pp. 55-68)
    M. L. Holford

    In December 1340 Edward III, frustrated at the progress of his continental ambitions, initiated a major enquiry into central and local government in England.¹ Among the many abuses uncovered during the following year were those of Thomas Carlton of Lincoln, under-sheriff of Lincolnshire. In 1334, he had taken bribes from both parties in a suit to return a favourable jury; in 1336, probably still holding office, he enforced a wrongful payment; and in 1338 and 1339, it was said, he had taken bribes, interfered in judicial process, and falsified claims for parliamentary expenses.² Nor was this the total of Carlton’s...

  9. Revisiting Norham, May–June 1291
    (pp. 69-83)
    Archie Duncan

    The decision¹ to establish lordship of English kings over the kings and kingdom of Scotland was taken, as Michael Prestwich suggested, at the Ashridge parliament in January 1291.² With the return from Scotland of Edward’s envoys, on 8 March 1291, the first known letter was penned asking an abbot to search the chronicles ‘kept in your house telling what touches us in homage of the kingdom of Scotland’ and to make a return of ‘everything … touching in any way our realm and the rule of Scotland’; the two other known requests also specify both realms but do not mention...

  10. Treason, Feud and the Growth of State Violence: Edward I and the ‘War of the Earl of Carrick’, 1306–7
    (pp. 84-113)
    Matthew Strickland

    On 10 February 1306, in the church of the Greyfriars in Dumfries, Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick, and his followers slew John Comyn, lord of Badenoch and a leading member of one of Scotland’s most powerful families.² A rising against the occupying English immediately followed and, on 25 March, Bruce was inaugurated as king of Scots at Scone abbey. Barely three months later, on 19 June, King Robert marched on Perth to confront Aymer de Valence, Edward I’s newly appointed lieutenant in Scotland.³ Yet according to the chronicler Walter of Guisborough, at the ensuing battle at nearby Methven, on Bruce’s...

  11. The Commendatio Lamentabilis for Edward I and Plantagenet Kingship
    (pp. 114-130)
    Björn Weiler

    John of London’s Commendatio Lamentabilis in Transitu Magni Regis Edwardi, a eulogy for Edward I of England composed c.1307,¹ has been overlooked by historians and literary scholars alike.² As we will see, this means setting aside one of the most widely copied texts about the king, and one that presents a highly complex view of kingship. Michael Prestwich has been one of the Commendatio’s few modern readers to recognize its value as a source if not for Edward’s life, then certainly his posthumous reputation.³ I would like to build on his work here, and will suggest that there was more...

  12. Historians, Aristocrats, and Plantagenet Ireland, 1200–1360
    (pp. 131-147)
    Robin Frame

    Ireland lay on an outer edge of the Plantagenet dominions, beyond Wales, itself a land where royal control depended heavily on marcher lordships, many of them in the hands of leading English aristocratic families. The conquest of Ireland, which remained incomplete, had also been the work of magnates, who sought to displace native rulers in the various provinces. Change was deepest in lowland areas of the east and south; further afield, authority was disputed or shared in shifting local balances. As in Wales, leadership might be provided by second-rank families who ‘battled in the country year in year out’.¹ But...

  13. War and Peace: A Knight’s Tale. The Ethics of War in Sir Thomas Gray’s Scalacronica
    (pp. 148-162)
    Andy King

    One day in mid-October 1355, a Scottish raiding party, laden with booty, crossed the River Tweed back into Scotland at the ford at Norham in Northumberland. The constable of Norham castle, Sir Thomas Gray, quickly mustered his garrison and set off in hot pursuit of the raiders. Unfortunately, it was a trap, and a few miles into Scotland Gray and his men were ambushed by a much stronger Scottish force. After a fierce struggle, Gray was captured, and hauled off to imprisonment in Edinburgh castle. To while away the long hours of his captivity, he decided to write a book...

  14. The King’s Secrets: Richard de Bury and the Monarchy of Edward III
    (pp. 163-178)
    W. Mark Ormrod

    The statecraft of Edward III is a subject that has been much in discussion over the last two generations, as historians have begun to recognize the achievement of this king in effecting a remarkable rapprochement between the ambitions of the crown and the interests of the political community. Secrecy is not one of the more obvious attributes of this politique: as Michael Prestwich has done so much to demonstrate, Edward III’s popularity and effectiveness relied in no small way on his practice of open government and his recognition, both rhetorically and substantively, of the benefits of public debate.¹ In other...

  15. Budgeting at the Medieval Exchequer
    (pp. 179-196)
    G. L. Harriss

    In 1984 Michael Prestwich published a noteworthy document which had found its way into the archives of Durham Cathedral Priory.¹ It was a demand by the parliamentary Commons that the proceeds of certain specified revenues should be used for the defence of the realm. On internal evidence Professor Prestwich was able to date this to the autumn parliament of 1377, and argued that it formed part of the Commons’ response to the king’s demand for taxation. The list comprised the wool subsidies and a variety of occasional, or casual, revenues, and although the first were valued at a conventional figure,...

  16. Recent Scholarship on Crusading and Medieval Warfare, 1095–1291: Convergence and Divergence
    (pp. 197-213)
    Norman Housley

    Nobody who has been engaged in the study of medieval history over the past two or three decades can fail to be struck by the recent resurgence of interest in military history. From a subject that was neglected by most practising medievalists, indeed regarded by many as fit only for amateurs, it has moved into the foreground of serious research.¹ The military history of the crusades has benefited a good deal from this revival.² This may seem unsurprising to those who view the crusades primarily as wars, but much of the most original recent research into the phenomenon of crusading...

  17. The Military Ordinances of Henry V: Texts and Contexts
    (pp. 214-249)
    Anne Curry

    As Michael Prestwich observed, ‘it might be expected that Edward I, in whose reign so much was done to reorganise the workings of law in a great series of statutes, would have produced military regulations, but none survive’.¹ For Henry V the situation is otherwise. Even though the king was certainly a great upholder of law and order² there are no great statutes, but there are military ordinances. These were first published by Francis Grose in 1773 in the preface to his Antiquities of England and Wales.³ The text in English, headed ‘Ordinances for Warr etc. at the treate and...

  18. Chivalry and English Kingship in the Later Middle Ages
    (pp. 250-266)
    Maurice Keen

    In recent studies of the political history of late medieval England, much attention has focused on the contemporary political culture, to which notions of kingship, of the nature and function of royal authority and the royal will, were for obvious reasons central. In order to build up a picture of what people of the political class – nobles, knights and gentlemen – would have regarded as the defining qualities of sound kingship and which therefore dictated what they would expect of their king in the exercise of his royal role, historians have been giving newly careful attention to what is...

  19. Cloth of Gold and Gold Thread: Luxury Imports to England in the Fourteenth Century
    (pp. 267-286)
    Wendy R. Childs

    The importance of luxury textiles (both for clothing and furnishing) was at least as great and probably greater in the Middle Ages than it is now, when fashion rather than the quality of textiles often predominates. Clothing was not only a basic necessity for warmth and modesty, but also a medium the quality, softness, brilliance and drape of which could reflect individual taste and attitudes. Deliberate rejection of luxury cloth showed humility and piety, but deliberate adoption of it contributed to the public display of status and of effective power and authority. Subjects and clients admired justness, moderation, and even...

  20. Bibliography of the Writings of Michael Prestwich
    (pp. 287-292)
  21. Index
    (pp. 293-310)
  22. Tabula Gratulatoria
    (pp. 311-312)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 313-313)