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Political Society in Lancastrian EnglandThe Greater Gentry of Nottinghamshire$
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Simon Payling

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202097

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202097.001.0001

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. Office-Holding and the King’S Affinity

. Office-Holding and the King’S Affinity

(p.109) 5. Office-Holding and the King’S Affinity
Political Society in Lancastrian England

Simon Payling

Oxford University Press

Earlier county studies have shown, and the Nottinghamshire evidence confirms, that there was a clear hierarchy of offices in terms of the social status of those who held them: at the top was the office of sheriff, closely followed by those of parliamentary knight of the shire and justice of the peace; below them came that of escheator, and then the minor offices of coroner, undersheriff, and clerk of the peace. The social status of the office-holders expressed the political importance of the offices they held: in the Lancastrian period, the shrievalty remained the most important local office, despite the growing power of the commission of the peace. The greater county families were more likely than their social inferiors to attract the patronage of the crown, but their dominance over local office rested first and foremost on their landed wealth: a wealth that gave them a right to office.

Keywords:   Lancastrian period, Nottinghamshire, parliamentary knight, landed wealth, office-holders

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