Political Elites in South-West England, 1450-1500: Politics, Governance, and the Wars of the Roses

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Awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship
This study examines the crown’s approach to government in South-West England during the later fifteenth century: it investigates Edward IV’s policy towards the English regions, and explores the feasibility of a regional approach by examining the politics, government, and ruling elites of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset from 1450 to 1500.


“. . . offers a new approach to both the burgeoning study of regions in English history and on the established discussion of the nature of Yorkist and early Tudor government. It suggests that in the history of the formation of the nation state, at a time of division and weakened central government, regionalism in England was insufficiently developed either to threaten the integrity of the realm or to form the basis for a lasting restoration of royal authority.” – Prof. Anthony J. Pollard, University of Teesside “. . . successfully balances attention to scholarly detail with accessibility for the general reader.” – Prof. Keith J. Stringer, University of Lancaster

“. . . breaks new ground by examining four neighboring shires, rather than concentrating exclusively on one single shire, as has been the norm in medieval and early modern country studies’ over the last thirty years.” – Dr. Alexander Grant, University of Lancaster

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Professor Anthony J. Pollard
1. Introduction
2. Regions and Identities in South-West England
3. Political Structures
4. Political Elites
5. Patrons, Clients, and Politics: 1450–61
6. Regional Governance and Readeption: 1461–71
7. Regional Governance and Restructuring: 1471–83
8. Usurpation and Upheaval: 1483–85
9. Centralization and Settlement: 1485–1500
10. Conclusion
Appendix I Landholding and Office-holding 1450–1500
Table I: The Landholding and Office-holding of the South-West Peerage
Table II: The Landholding and Office-holding of the South-West Gentry
Appendix II Directory of Political Elites 1450–1500
Appendix III Hungerford, Arundell, and Edgcumbe Associates
Appendix IV Commissions of the Peace 1450–1500

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