The Armburgh Papers: The Brokholes Inheritance in Warwickshire, Hertfordshire and Essex, c.1417-c.1453
by Christine Carpenter
ISBN 085115624X (0-85115-624-X)
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Hardcover, Boydell Press, 1998
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Book summary: The collection of fifteenth-century letters printed here for the first time stands alongside the Paston and Stonor correspondence in its intrinsic interest and the light it sheds on contemporary gentry life. Edited from a recently discovered manuscript in Chetham's Library, Manchester (Mun.E.6.10 (4)), the letters deal largely with the prolonged dispute over the Brokholes inheritance in Warwickshire, Hertfordshire, and Essex, and are concerned principally with the affairs of one of the claimants, Joan Armburgh, and her husband Robert. The material mostly derives from the period c.1420-50, one of growing unease in national politics, which the letters reflect; but they are more concerned with affairs closer to home, and provide fascinating insights on local politics, the networks of `bastard feudalism' which bound the gentry to their lords and to each other, on the impact of lengthy litigation on a gentry family (especially its finances), and, more generally, on the management of their lands and business affairs. The startlingly vivid language of some of the less formal entries brings the writers strikingly to life.
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