The English Aristocracy, 1070-1272


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A Social Transformation

David Crouch

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William the Conqueror's victory in 1066 was the beginning of a period of major transformation for medieval English aristocrats. In this groundbreaking book, David Crouch examines for the first time the fate of the English aristocracy between the reigns of the Conqueror and Edward I. Offering an original explanation of medieval society—one that no longer employs traditional "feudal" or "bastard feudal" models—Crouch argues that society remade itself around the emerging principle of nobility in the generations on either side of 1200, marking the beginning of the ancien régime.

The book describes the transformation in aristocrats' expectations, conduct, piety, and status; in expressions of social domination; and in the relationship with the monarchy. Synchronizing English social history with non-English scholarship, Crouch places England's experience of change within a broader European transformation and highlights England's important role in the process. With his accustomed skill, Crouch redefines a fascinating era and the noble class that emerged from it.

David Crouch is professor of medieval history, University of Hull.

'This is a fascinating, ambitious and brightly written book by one of our most creative British historians. It gives a vivid picture of all the facets of the dominant military group, while showing the deepness of the change, which, around 1200, transformed an aristocracy into nobility. It is the most complete and erudite study thus far on the nobility in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.' - Martin Aurell, author of The Plantagenet Empire, 1154-1224

'This masterpiece presents the culmination of David Crouch's long-standing research. Erudite and lucid, he provides an excellent insight into the structure of the English nobility and its impact on medieval society.' - Karl-Heinz Spieß

“…….a lively and provocative study, fluently written and formidably well informed.”—Nigel Saul, History Today

“Much work on the aristocracy is based in contemporary chronicles and romance literature - and Crouch is a master of both. But the real strength of each chapter of this book is that his years of work in the archives have given him an unrivalled knowledge of the documents and government records produced by and for the aristocracy themselves. These are here in abundance and provide precious and telling insights into the real lives of the medieval aristocracy.”—Steve Marritt, BBC History Magazine

“…. [An] important study.”—Country Life

“….. [A] rich and forceful new study…..Crouch’s approach represents a sharp contrast with traditional English medieval historiography.”—C.J. Tyerman, Times Literary Supplement

ISBN: 9780300114553
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
352 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
8 b/w illus.