The Culture of Loyalty in Fifteenth-Century England
The project constitutes the first major attempt to define and understand political loyalty to the crown and secular lords in England, 1400-1500: how it was manifested; how it developed and how it was discussed in political and social discourse. It focuses on a significant period in the evolution of the concept of loyalty: the end of the Hundred Years War, the instability of the Wars of the Roses, and attempts by the Yorkist and early Tudor regimes to increase the crown’s authority in the localities.
An interdisciplinary approach utilises and tests the applicability of theoretical models developed by philosophers and political scientists on the nature of loyalty, notably Josiah Royce. Alongside documentary and literary sources, there is a strong emphasis on material and visual culture. The project aims to revise a largely negative historiographical tradition by conceptualising loyalty as a sincere, voluntary expression. By developing the first paradigm of late medieval loyalty, the research will have far reaching implications for our understanding of the late medieval polity.
Research outputs will include a monograph entitled The Culture of Loyalty in Fifteenth-Century England, several journal articles and conference papers. A conference, ‘Loyalty to the British Monarchs, c.1400-1688’ is being held at the University of Nottingham in January 2018.