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Suffolk and the TudorsPolitics and Religion in an English County 1500–1600$

Diarmaid MacCulloch

Print publication date: 1986

Print ISBN-13: 9780198229148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229148.001.0001

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(p.420) Appendix IV The Suffolk gentry and their marriages 1558–1603

(p.420) Appendix IV The Suffolk gentry and their marriages 1558–1603

Source:
Suffolk and the Tudors
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

The following sample of 635 marriages among the Suffolk gentry for the period c. 1550–1612 is taken from the three Visitations of 1561, 1577, and 1612 and the additional pedigrees as edited by Walter Metcalfe. The principle chosen has been to list and analyse the marriages of eldest sons, heirs, heads of families, and of cadet branches in all cases where the wife’s place of origin could be traced. Where the marriage was with a widow it has been classified by the residence of the previous husband rather than by the wife’s original home. Figures are for marriages, not for individuals. They are given compositely, the second figure being for those marriages which took place from recusant gentry families. Separate analyses are given for east and west Suffolk, and then combined for the county as a whole.

Key to symbols used:

Local: Marriages which took place between families within the same area, i.e.

either in the east or the west only.

E/W: Marriages where the wife came from the other half of the county.

Nf: Marriages where the wife came from Norfolk.

Ess: Marriages where the wife came from Essex.

Cam: Marriages where the wife came from Cambridgeshire.

Lon: Marriages where the wife came from London.

Other: Marriages where the wife came from some other county.

East Suffolk families

West Suffolk families

Total

%

%

%

Local

195 + 14

52

95 + 5

44

355 + 23

60

E/W

38 + 3

10

27 + 1

12

Nf.

49 + 11

15

22 + 1

10

71 + 12

13

Ess.

29 + 1

7

25 + 3

12

54 + 4

9

Cam.

4 + 0

1

12 + 2

6

16 + 2

3

Lon.

12 + 0

3

6 + 0

2

18 + 0

3

Other

37 + 12

12

27 + 4

14

64 + 16

12

Total

405

230

635

(p.421)

Analysis of marriages of JPs included in die sample

East Suffolk families

West Suffolk families

Total

%

%

%

Local

26 + 3

42

16 + 1

39

57 + 5

60

E/W

11 + 1

20

4 + 0

10

Nf.

4+1

9

3 + 0

8

7 + 1

7

Ess.

3 + 0

6

9 + 0

20

12 + 0

11

Cam.

0

0

0

Lond.

2 + 0

3

1 4– 0

3

3 + 0

2

Other

8 + 4

20

7 + 2

20

15 + 6

20

Total

63

43

106

The figures in the second table indicate that the upper levels of the gentry class shared the attitudes of more minor gentry about marriage within their own area; it was normal in any case for Suffolk men to seek a wife within the county. However, the magistracy of west Suffolk showed a tendency to marry into the elite of their neighbours in Essex which may have been more pronounced than among the lesser gentry of the Liberty. In both halves of the county the magistracy were more inclined than lesser men to look beyond the bounds of East Anglia for a wife, presumably because they had more opportunities, perhaps more university or Inn–of–Court contacts, to do so.