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Family, lineage and dynasty in the late medieval city: Re-thinking the English evidence

Liddy, C.D.

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Abstract

Ever since the publication in 1948 of Sylvia Thrupp's seminal book, The Merchant Class of Medieval London, successive generations of historians of English cities have advanced two central claims about the distinctiveness of the English urban landscape. First, ‘urban dynasties’ in late medieval England very rarely survived beyond two or three generations. Secondly, their weakness was a ‘peculiarly English’ phenomenon and a fundamental difference between English and continental towns. The article explores the historiographical significance of this thesis, the strength of which rests upon its explanatory role within a much wider narrative of English exceptionalism. It argues that the thesis has implications for the study of cities in continental Europe and, finally, it suggests that the English evidence might reveal a much more interesting picture of elite reproduction, when we think more critically and comparatively about how urban elites conceptualized ‘lineage’.

Citation

Liddy, C. (2020). Family, lineage and dynasty in the late medieval city: Re-thinking the English evidence. Urban History, 47(4), 648-670. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0963926819000671

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 30, 2019
Online Publication Date Sep 2, 2019
Publication Date 2020-11
Deposit Date Jul 12, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 26, 2019
Journal Urban History
Print ISSN 0963-9268
Electronic ISSN 1469-8706
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Issue 4
Pages 648-670
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/s0963926819000671

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