Sunday, August 28, 2016

Question from Allyson - Follow-up questions to previous post

Some follow up questions to my previous ones.

Who was rich in the 1520s? Was it only royalty? Furthermore, if it wasn't how could one become rich in such a time.

Was there a guild for book making/selling? What sorts of people might have been in this profession?

Because cities were mainly self-governing what sorts of things were people persecuted or outcast from society for? Did they organized their own courts and trials? Who might have led the self-governing, or was it more mob like.

I also came across an interesting event called Dancing Mania. It seems people don't really know much about what it really was although it was documented enough for it to be excepted as a real event. How isolated was this? Do we know how people reacted to such an event?

Royalty and royal blood was obviously very important in that time, so how well did people track their royal blood? I assume very well, and how were certain relations to the royal family acknowledged. Furthermore, and more importantly, how were illegitimate children of the royal family cared for and addressed?


PhD Historian said...

As was the case with the previous set of questions, my first recommendation is that you find a couple of good texts on the social and economic history of England in the sixteenth century. Your knowledge of the history of Tudor England seems, based on the content of your questions, to be quite limited. The best way to expand your knowledge is to read some good and reliable books on the subject. Asking specific questions here will provide only answers to those specific questions, and probably raise even more questions. In contrast, doing some basic background reading may answer a lot of different questions all at one time. G.R. Elton’s “England Under the Tudors” is an important foundational work on the subject that should be of great use. You might also try Peter Ackroyd’s “Tudors” (Volume 2 of his “History of England”), as well as Jasper Ridley’s “The Tudor Age.” John Guy has written several introductory texts for Oxford University Press that would also be helpful. But I cannot emphasize enough that you really very much need to acquire or borrow some of these books and do some basic background reading!

Wealth: No, being “rich” was not limited to royalty. Wealth was gauged by possession of land and the revenues that those lands generated for the person who possessed them. This is a very complex subject, all by itself! For example, previous recent discussion threads have described the many ways in which one might “possess” land, ranging from outright ownership to various kinds of tenancy and life-interest.

The guild for the publishing industry in the Tudor era was the Worshipful Company of Stationers (aka The Stationer’s Guild) in London. There are many books available on this one narrow subject alone.

On local governance and the regulation of behavior, I again refer you to McIntosh’s “Controlling Misbehavior.” And any basic text on the Tudor era should answer your question about courts and the administration of justice (No, local communities did not organize their own courts, and neither was mob rule a common occurrence. The administration of justice was provided by the Crown.)

Regarding tracking of royal blood, the question is itself too narrow. Among persons of property, the tracking of one’s lineage was often an obsessive pursuit, regardless of whether or not there was any past link to royalty. Many families had exhaustive genealogies (family trees) created and preserved as elaborate works of art, such was the importance of those genealogies. And yes, for those who could do so, finding a link to some past royal person was something to be highlighted. Some even went so far as to have enormously complex “coats of arms” drawn up that included as many of one’s ancestral family lines as possible (in heraldry, it is known as “quartering”). But there was also a significant amount of falsification, with people claiming ancestors to which they were not actually related in an effort to improve their own current social status.

You have said that your novel is set in 1520. At that point in time, the only acknowledged illegitimate child of “the royal family” (i.e., Henry VII and his descendants) was Henry Fitzroy, son of Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount. His upbringing is fairly well documented, so it should be very easy for you to find some reading material on how he was cared for and addressed.

Mary said...

Elizabeth I was declared an illegitimate child while Mary Tudor, or Maria Regina was under rule as well.