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The Merchant Community of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1660-1750

ROBINSON, LAWRENCE (2019) The Merchant Community of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1660-1750. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines how the social and cultural experience of becoming and being a merchant in early modern Newcastle upon Tyne contributed towards the formation of a merchant community in the town during the period 1660-1750. Chapters are arranged to broadly reflect stages in the lifecycle, beginning with apprenticeship, followed by housing, the acquisition of material goods and political participation. Chapter One offers an introduction to the topics covered and cites the thesis in the historiography as well as discussing the main primary sources used throughout. Chapter Two shows how apprenticeship brought youths to Newcastle and argues that this training provided the first critical stage of assimilation into the merchant community, teaching them the nature of urban life together with the mercantile culture of work. Chapter Three continues the apprenticeship theme with an in-depth look at the ways in which enrolments to the Newcastle Merchant Adventurers changed between 1600 and 1750, in terms of overall numbers and with respect to the social background of recruits and their pattern of migration (briefly extending the thesis chronology to highlight important long-term change). Chapter Four is concerned with merchant housing and uses the 1665 Hearth Tax to create a detailed picture of how merchant properties compared in size and location to the town as a whole. The use of domestic space is also considered and connected to the bourgeois values of sociability, respectability and dignity. Chapter Five continues this topic with a look at material culture. Urban life was associational in nature and this chapter will argue that material culture had a key role in developing a broader urban bourgeois culture between towns and regions. Chapter Six examines the political participation of Newcastle merchants and shows the extent of the control they held over the town corporation and considers the implications this had for social relations between the merchant community and the rest of the town population. Chapter Seven concludes the thesis and stresses the need to re-evaluate the role provincial merchants had in the development of society and culture across the early modern period.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Apr 2019 12:48

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