The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England, 1600-1750 by H. R. FrenchThe Middle Sort of People in Provincial England, 1600-1750 by H. R. French

The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England, 1600-1750

byH. R. French

Hardcover | August 3, 2007

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Exploring the origins of 'middle-class' status in the English provinces during a formative period of social and economic change, this book provides the first comparative study of the nature of social identity in early modern provincial England. It questions definitions of a 'middling' group,united by shared patterns of consumption and display, and examines the bases for such identity in three detailed case studies of the 'middle sort' in East Anglia, Lancashire, and Dorset. Dr. French identifies how the 'middling' described their status, and examines this through their social positionin parish life and government, and through their material possessions. Instead of a coherent, unified 'middle sort of people' this book reveals division between self-proclaimed parish rulers (the 'chief inhabitants') and a wider body of modestly prosperous householders, who nevertheless shared social perspectives bounded within their localities. By the eighteenthcentury, many of these 'chief inhabitants' were trying to break out of their parish pecking orders - not by associating with a wider 'middle class', but by modifying ideas of gentility to suit their circumstances (and pockets). French concludes as a result, that while the presence of a distinct 'middling' stratum is apparent, the social identity of the people remained fragmented - restricted by parochial society on the one hand, and overshadowed by the prospect of gentility on the other. He offers new interpretation andinsights into the composition and scale of the society in early modern England.
H.R. French is a Lecturer in Early Modern History, University of Exeter.
Title:The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England, 1600-1750Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.87 inPublished:August 3, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199296383

ISBN - 13:9780199296385

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Table of Contents

Introduction - Definitions1. The Local Context2. Parish Office and the Formation of Social Identity3. 'Chief Inhabitants' and 'Material Culture'4. The Language of Social AuthorityConclusion