HARKES, RACHAEL,CLARE (2021) Joining a Fraternity in Late Medieval England: The Case of the Palmers’ Guild of Ludlow, c. 1250-1551. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
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This thesis examines the role of guild membership in late medieval England and Wales through a case study of the Palmers’ Guild of Ludlow, while also drawing comparisons with other large fraternities. The Ludlow guild was both important and prominent, attracting 15,179 individuals between 1497 and 1509 alone. In addition to being the first history to focus explicitly on the guild’s extensive membership, this thesis utilises under-explored archival materials to bring to light patterns of membership that prove crucial to understanding both the pervasiveness of guild membership and the conscious activities of corporate bodies operating within medieval society. It approaches the membership of the Palmers’ Guild from a conceptual viewpoint, seeking to understand, as far as historians are able, the motivations of the men and women who joined the guild. It is less concerned with the narrative of the guild’s history than with its interaction and intersection with pre-Reformation society. To understand the role and meanings that guild membership assumed in late medieval society, emphasis is placed on the temporal, geographic, and social context of engagement with guilds.
The motivations of late medieval men and women are difficult to discern, but, given a sensitivity to the surviving records and the identification of patterns, this thesis identifies the influence (and expectations) of localised groups upon individual actions, demonstrating the pressures that might be incumbent upon decision-making. This is explored in relation to the family, lay and ecclesiastical households, ruling groups of local elites in town and country, and ‘active involvement’. The reasons for joining late medieval fraternities are shown to have been entangled in histories of domesticity and mentalities, and the practices of urban and rural politics. The conclusions drawn have important implications not only for our understanding of religious guilds, but of late medieval society more generally.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||late medieval history, guilds, politics, religion, social history, networks|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||08 Apr 2021 15:46|