This article deploys a body of remarkably detailed witness statements to interrogate the nature of popular memory and social conflict in Petworth, Sussex. These depositions are located in two specific contexts: a struggle between the tenants of Petworth and the ninth earl of Northumberland (1591 – 1608) and the broader pattern of resistance and negotiation in the village between the ‘commotion time’ of 1549 and the calling of the Short Parliament. The essay presents a micro-history of local struggles over land, rights and resources and the findings open up questions within the recent historiography of early modern social relations, undermining the notion that authority was flexibly negotiated between ruler and ruled. Instead, it locates negotiation within social structures that gave a powerful advantage to the gentry and nobility. In this respect, the essay builds upon the return in social history to questions of economic inequality and imbalances of political agency.
Wood, A. (2014). ‘Some banglyng about the customes’: Popular Memory and the Experience of Defeat in a Sussex Village, 1549–1640. Rural History, 25(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0956793313000174