The Yorkist Age: Daily Life during the Wars of the Roses

By Paul Murray Kendall | Go to book overview

2
The Mayor: Abroad

DURING the reign of Edward IV the mayors of the chief towns of the realm not only administered local affairs but, like the princes of the earth, they devoted time and energy to foreign relations. England was still so loosely organized, politically, that mayors were required to deal with neighbouring gentry, magnates of the kingdom, the King himself, and Holy Church. Chief magistrates all pursued the same policy: to maintain the independence of the city, satisfy the King's demand for loyal and orderly rule, and diminish whatever temporal rights the clergy claimed to exercise within town walls.

Nothing so demeaned the dignity of the mayor and irked the sensibilities of the ruling oligarchy as outside interference with the affairs of the city. Towns of the Yorkist Age usually treated on terms of equality and mutual respect with nearby lords or the magnates of the realm. Gone were the days when a Mayor of Exeter was forced to acknowledge himself the Earl of Devon's man and humbly do the Earl's bidding or when an Earl of Northumberland or one of the Nevilles could overawe the city of York. Nobles were still able occasionally to bend a town to their will, though only during troubled times. Here and there townsmen accepted a lord's livery and became his adherent, but mayors emphatically joined their own prohibitions and penalties to proclamations of the King forbidding this practice. A citizen who wore a noble's colours was a potential source of disaffection, a traitor within the walls. For the most part, lords in this age cultivated the good will of towns.

The city of York enjoyed a profitable relationship with Richard

-88-

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The Yorkist Age: Daily Life during the Wars of the Roses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 7
  • Contents 11
  • Principal Persons 15
  • Prologue - The Times 21
  • 1 - The Mayor 51
  • 1 - The Mayor: at Home 53
  • 2 - The Mayor: Abroad 88
  • 3 - Rebel Against the Mayor 117
  • 4 - The Lord Mayor of London 134
  • II - Other Important People 159
  • 5 - The King and the Royal Household 161
  • 6 - Lords and Gentry 194
  • 7 - Churchmen and the Church 244
  • 8 - Merchants, Pirates, Aliens and Lawyers 281
  • III - The Household 329
  • 9 - The Fabric of Life 331
  • 10 - The Marriage Hunt 364
  • II - Wives 401
  • 12 - Children 434
  • Epilogue 463
  • Bibliography 505
  • Index 515
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