England in the Later Middle Ages: A Political History

England in the Later Middle Ages: A Political History

England in the Later Middle Ages: A Political History

England in the Later Middle Ages: A Political History

Synopsis

First published to wide critical acclaim in 1973, England in the Later Middle Ages has become a seminal text for students studying this diverse, complex period. This spirited work surveys the period from Edward I to the death of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, which heralded in the Tudor Age.The second edition of this book, while maintaining the character of the original, brings the study up to date. Each chapter includes a discussion of the historiographical developments of the last decade and the author takes a fresh look at the changing world of the Later Middle Ages, particularly the plague and the economy. Also included is a rewritten introduction.

Excerpt

This book is concerned with the period of English medieval history that has always been for me the most interesting. I am attracted by it for a reason that may perhaps seem old-fashioned: because its story is full of martial events, of the adventures in wars in England and beyond the sea of men of fame and ancestry, like the Black Prince and that Earl of Shrewsbury whom the French in fear and respect christened le roi Talbot. I have no doubt that my predilections colour my view of the period. Perhaps this book would have been better written by someone with a deep knowledge of the legal and administrative records of late Plantagenet England (a knowledge to which I can lay no claim), for these are the sources that are currently shedding most new light on the history of the age. But I believe that there may still be this to be said for looking at it in a rather traditional way; that if they could be consulted, the men of the period would probably have hoped that their times would be remembered most for their great victories, Falkirk and Crecy and Poitiers and Agincourt.

Writing a textbook is not altogether an agreeable task; it teaches one too much about one's own ignorance. Faced with topics with which one's own acquaintance is entirely superficial-in my own case, notably, the problems of late medieval economic history and ecclesiastical history-what can one do but reproduce, as best one may, the views of others who are better informed:' I am conscious of a very great debt to the books of those scholars who have made this period of English history their special field. I am also conscious that the period is one in which the results of extensive and important research, under-taken over the last twenty years, are beginning to multiply in print, and that at the present moment it is one where almost all views are interim views. Statements made now are likely to date quickly. I have tried nevertheless to be definite in presenting my points of view; a textbook can, in my experience, be occasionally useful simply because the student can find in it unsound opinions to attack.

I have received much generous help in writing this book. My principal debts are to Mr G.L. Harriss of Magdalen College, Oxford, who read through the whole text in typescript and made many valuable suggestions and criticisms, and to Mr C.R.J. Currie, a research student of my own college, who went through substantial parts of it in an effort to root out as many as he could of the errors of fact-of proper names, precise dates and relationships-that he

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