Crown, Nobility and Gentry on the Anglo-Scottish Borders in the First Quarter of the 16th Century
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Crown, Nobility and Gentry on the Anglo-Scottish Borders in the First Quarter of the 16th Century
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This article is devoted to Anglo-Scottish borders in the first quarter of the 16th century. Researchers consider strengthening of a role and place of the government to be the most important characteristic of social development of the European society of Early Modern times. The 16th — 18th centuries appear as a wreath of long-term process of centralization, collecting of lands, time of high-quality changes in the relations between the power and society. England’s era of the Tudor dynasty, despite persistent underlining of its feature (peculiarity), its difference from continental monarchies of the kind, does not look an exception at all. Ireland, Wales, and Northern lands were those areas where in the 16th century the royalty pressed local elite. According to historians, this process often appears as victorious procession of the monarchy centralizing and civilizing borderlands. Local communities were only on the background of this picture, with occasional expressions of resentment and arrangements of revolts. Recently, researchers are more and more inclined to estimate relationship between the central authorities and local communities differently: more as dialogue, not a monologue. Northern lands, one of the most serious problems of the English government of the late Middle Ages, can serve as a litmus paper which will allow to check the validity of these theories. The author analyzes the relations between Warden General of the Marches, Thomas, Lord Dacre and gentry of Northumberland. The interconnections between Dacre and gentry were not simple. Dacre did not manage to create a strong network among the clients and vassals in the region. The gentlemen refused to serve him and blamed him for the growth of crime in the region. From the author’s point of view, it was the animosity of local gentry that lead to the Dacre’s retirement. Dacre was not a victim of royal policy at all. On the contrary, the king and Wolsey sought to keep him on the post as long as possible, even sometimes against the will of the baron. The leading role in its retirement was played by the local nobility who managed to exploit those maxims of board of the law and a triumph of justice which were proclaimed by the Tudor government. In the face of powerful opposition to the baron and a difficult internal situation in the boundary counties, the Crown was compelled to let Dacre go.
Tudors, Anglo-Scottish borders, Dacre, gentry, aristocracy
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