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The Foundations of Gentry LifeThe Multons of Frampton and their World 1270-1370$
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Peter Coss

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199560004

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560004.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2021

The Culture of the Cartulary

The Culture of the Cartulary

The Gentry Family and the Protection of Estates

(p.185) 10 The Culture of the Cartulary
The Foundations of Gentry Life

Peter Coss (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The gentry were acutely law-minded. This was as true in the late 13th and early 14th centuries as ever it was to be later. At the heart of this law-mindedness was the need and the determination to protect their estates; perhaps one should say to protect their family and their estates, for in their thinking the two were essentially interchangeable. Protection has, of course, a purely physical dimension, and there can hardly have been a secular lord who would not have subscribed to the ethic of the strong, sword-bearing right arm in defence of one's rights. However, as historians have come to recognize, the real knee-jerk reaction if one's property was threatened was to the law, principally and increasingly throughout the 13th century and beyond to the courts of the English common law. It is a truism that this was a litigious age and that the gentry were litigious by predilection. Their law-mindedness, however, became so much a part of gentry behaviour as to be more than just a propensity to seek out writs and legal remedies. Rather it became deeply rooted in gentry culture itself. This aspect of gentry culture has a series of interlocking dimensions and an examination of these will be the subject of this chapter.

Keywords:   English gentry, gentry life, law-mindedness, protection of estates, gentry culture

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