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The Politics of Noble Reputation in Late Medieval England 1377-1437.

SNAITH, RHIANNON,ELIZABETH (2021) The Politics of Noble Reputation in Late Medieval England 1377-1437. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 23 June 2024.


This thesis uncovers and elucidates the cultural and political significance of noble reputation in late medieval England between 1377 and 1437. Changes in the wake of the Black Death placed pressure upon the nobility and increasing emphasis upon their reputations. The late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries witnessed the re-enactment of Scandalum Magnatum statutes to protect noble reputation under law, and the foundation of the court of chivalry, which offered the nobility an avenue by which they might defend their conduct, lineage and right to carry their family coats of arms.

Focusing on both the secular and clerical nobility, the thesis uses contemporary chronicles, legal sources including depositions from the court of chivalry, parliamentary and institutional records, and the evidence of visual and material culture to explore the nature and deployment of noble reputation in this period. The thesis argues that, in better understanding the importance of noble reputation, we gain insight both into what it meant to be noble in late medieval England and into the ways in which the nobility exercised their power and authority.

Ultimately, in an environment in which politics remained highly personal, and political participation amongst the lower orders was increasing, noble reputation became crucial. It offered a means by which nobles, and their kings, could attempt to cultivate popular support, whilst simultaneously offering popular voices an avenue by which they might express their political opinions and make use of their increasingly powerful voices.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Noble, reputation, late medieval, chivalry, knighthood nobility, elite, masculinity, popular politics, politics, rumour, fama, bishop, archbishop, scandalum magnatum
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Jun 2021 10:51

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