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Common Profit and Civic Governance in Ricardian London, c. 1376 - c. 1391

Gonzalez, Daniella Marie Louise (2019) Common Profit and Civic Governance in Ricardian London, c. 1376 - c. 1391. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:80868)

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Language: English

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the political turbulence that unfolded in late fourteenth-century London, interrogating the nature of authority and power of London's civic elites, with particular focus on John of Northampton and Nicholas Brembre, both mayors of London. It does so through an investigation of the use of the ideology of common profit - the idea that a community should work for the profit, or good, of the whole. The scope of this thesis extends from c. 1376 to c. 1391, a period in which there was a conscious move towards establishing the common good within London, yet a period which also saw constant tumult in the form of a large scale rebellion, disputes between rival guilds in the City, and the execution of Nicholas Brembre following the Merciless Parliament of 1388. This was not a period of peace but one in which the prosperity of the City was challenged and on the brink of destruction. These events were preserved primarily within the records of London's Guildhall, which provide detailed narratives of the experiences, mentalities and motivations of those involved in these quarrels. By examining urban administrative documents through the lens of the discourse of common profit, we can question the extent to which this ideology was used as a negotiating tool to legitimise the authority of leading civic figures. This thesis considers the multiple contexts in which common profit rhetoric could be used by those involved in civic life. The context for the production of these texts is especially important, giving an insight into both the reasons for their creation and circulation, and into the institutions they represented. London, the capital city, was thus envisioned by contemporaries as serving as an example of good civic governance for the rest of the realm, despite, in reality, being a place that experienced intense corruption. This dual identity for the capital city is represented in these sources in the way in which, through the use of political language, political players interacted with ideas of governance, the concept of the body politic, and the relationship between rulers and ruled. Language is thus considered in this thesis as a reflection of social practice and circumstance. From this, this investigation exposes how common profit principles shaped these documents and was used by London officials to consolidate their authority in a period when factional conflict saw this undermined.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Perry, Ryan
Thesis advisor: Blakeway, Amy
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2020 14:01 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2020 10:05 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/80868 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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