Bastard Feudalism

Overview

'Bastard Feudalism' is the term historians give to the tie that bound late medieval retainers to their lords, and allowed those lords in turn to wield the political power, and cut the figure, appropriate to their rank. Without it, the late medieval aristocracy would not have been able to rule their localities, and fight the wars (at home as well as abroad) that were such a prominent feature of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is thus of fundamental importance to our understanding of the late medieval world - its warfare, local
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Overview

'Bastard Feudalism' is the term historians give to the tie that bound late medieval retainers to their lords, and allowed those lords in turn to wield the political power, and cut the figure, appropriate to their rank. Without it, the late medieval aristocracy would not have been able to rule their localities, and fight the wars (at home as well as abroad) that were such a prominent feature of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is thus of fundamental importance to our understanding of the late medieval world - its warfare, local government, justice and public order, as well as its politics and social structure. But bastard feudalism had a longer-term significance, too: by involving payment (rather than the grant of land) in return for service, it contributed to the increasing mobility of society that marks the transition to the early modern world. This major work now offers the most radical reinterpretation of the subject for fifty years, transforming our understanding of it and setting a fresh agenda for future work in the field. Michael Hicks argues that bastard feudalism started far earlier and lasted far longer than scholars have traditionally allowed; and that it was far more complex - and often much more positive - in its effects than its conventional image as a source of instability and abuse. Traditionally the concept has been linked almost exclusively to the non-resident gentry of 1300-1500 (the so-called indentured retainers). This book by contrast deals with the period from 1150 to 1650, and reveals more continuity than change over the five centuries it spans. It demonstrates that the most important retainers throughout the period were in fact the members of the lord's own household and the tenants of his estates, men whose bonds with their lord were particularly strong and enduring. Indentured retainers were unusual, and had all but disappeared by 1470. Because these ties were stable, Professor Hicks argues, society founded on them was also
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Surveys the causes and effects of bastard feudalism and its contribution to the increasing mobility of society that marks the transition to the early modern world. Hicks (medieval history, King Alfred's College) argues that bastard feudalism started earlier and lasted longer that scholars have traditionally allowed, and demonstrates that the most important retainers during the period were members of the lord's own household and tenants of his estates. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780582060913
  • Publisher: Longman Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: The Medieval World Series
  • Pages: 240

Table of Contents

Preface
Editor's Preface
Abbreviations
Ch. 1 What is Bastard Feudalism? 1
Ch. 2 Varieties of Bastard Feudalism 43
Ch. 3 Quantity and Quality 69
Ch. 4 The Legality of Bastard Feudalism 110
Ch. 5 Bastard Feudalism in Peacetime 137
Ch. 6 Power and Politics 155
Ch. 7 Bastard Feudalism in Wartime 185
Ch. 8 Bastard Feudalism: The End? 201
Ch. 9 Impact on Politics and Society 218
Glossary 222
Bibliography 230
Index 235
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