Gentry Culture and the Development of Local History in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England

264pp 12 ILLUS 2006 OUT OF PRINT H436



The importance of history to Elizabethan and early Stuart gentry led to a vibrant antiquarian culture. The family, town and county histories written by the community, which form the core of this study, influenced the development of local history in England into the twentieth century. Eschewing a narrow, historiographical approach, the author examines a range of manuscript and published works that reflect the gentry’s interest in the past: pedigree rolls, antiquarian notebooks, heraldic displays and maps. She discusses the practicalities of local historical research, the national educational and institutional framework, the development of regional networks of local historians and the gentlemen who controlled access to their sources, and the source materials available. Finally, the book addresses three important themes within local history: genealogy, didacticism and the physical world.
It is an engaging story, told with some verve, and based on years of reading in manuscript and other sources. J V BECKETT, THE LOCAL HISTORIAN