Tyranny, complaint and redress: the evidence of the petitions presented to the crown c.1320 to 1335

Walker, Sharon Irene (2013) Tyranny, complaint and redress: the evidence of the petitions presented to the crown c.1320 to 1335. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis offers a new approach to the understanding of the recurrent crises of the period c.1320 to 1335, covering the final years of Edward II’s turbulent reign, the deposition, and its repercussions into the period of the Regency and the first years of the majority rule of Edward III. This has been achieved through an archive led study of the accounts of the ‘complaint and redress’ encompassed in the records of the Ancient Petitions presented to the Crown, held by The National Archives and designated as the SC 8 series. These records contain some of the most vivid contemporary and individual records of the lives and concerns of the king’s subjects during this turbulent period. This thesis illustrates that these records contain the genuine ‘voice’ of the petitioners, and can be used to reveal the impact on those seeking the king’s justice during the recurring crises of this defining moment in late medieval English history.

Although there has been much interest in the events leading to the deposition and death of Edward II, research to date has focused mainly on its effect on the noble members of society, their place in administrative and governmental history, and the workings of the judicial system. In contrast, this study considers the nature of these complaints and requests in order to illustrate specific events. It places them in historical, social and political context to further illustrate Michael Prestwich’s assertion that ‘personalities mattered more (in the fourteenth century) than abstract principles of reform’. This fresh approach to the study of the petitions examines how the changing fortunes of Thomas 2nd earl of Lancaster, Hugh Despenser the younger, his father Hugh Despenser the elder, Edward II’s queen, Isabella and her partner Sir Roger Mortimer of Wigmore affected the lives of those seemingly unimportant people that made up the majority of the king’s subjects.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Dodd, G.
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 13662
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2014 13:14
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 18:16
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13662

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