1 Although this is too simplistic an explanation in itself for the timing of reform/revolutionary movements.
2 Quoted in a review of B. Hanawalt's Crime and Conflict in English Communities, 1300-1348, in Journal of Economic History, XL (1980), 383.
3 Although this advantage may well have been appreciated long before the initiation of the early Chancery proceedings provides detailed documentation of it.
4 Dobson, "Urban decline in late medieval England," 13.
5 An unusually clear statement of this philosophy was issued in Coventry in 1494; for which see Phythian-Adams, Desolation of a City, 137.
6 H. Riley, ed., Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis: Liber Custumarum, (London, 1860), 518-21.
7 As did Hammer, op.cit., 25, regarding Oxford.
8 Thus Aquinas: "si unus homo habuisset super alium supereminentiam scientiae, et justitiae, inconveniens fuisset nisi hoc exequeretur in utilitatem aliorum" (from extracts in Carlyle's History of Medieval Political Theory in the West, V, 12). Dante offered the term optimacy as an alternative to aristocracy.
9 From extracts in J. Mundy and P. Riesenberg, The Medieval Town, (Princeton, 1958), 123. This notion is found in the Justinianic code.
10 See her comments in English Medieval Towns, 136. See also David Carr, "The Problem of Urban Patriciates: Office Holders in Fifteenth Century Salisbury", Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, vol.83 (1990), 118-135. Carr concludes that Salisbury's ruling group cannot be classified as an oligarchy, hereditary aristocracy, or plutocracy, that the principal common characteristic of local office-holders was that they were citizens, and that political participation was not restricted within that group; although some held office more frequently than others, this may have been due, he feels, to a preference for those considered, by their performance of duties or by reputation, the more judicious among the citizens, and this degree of 'monopolisation' did not work towards exclusion of a wider group in local government.
11 Coroners, councils, and financial officers all played a part in this.
12 Carlyle, op.cit., VI, 523.
13 We need not look to the spurious lex regia or the Aristotelian revival for the foundations of medieval democracy, despite some possible influence on the Italian communal movement. Similarly, whilst trained lawyer John Tilney may have been familiar with the populist theory of Bartolus of Sassoferrato, it is futile and unnecessary to speculate on how this may have influenced the reform movement in early fifteenth century Lynn.
14 E.g. Lynn's Great Jury for pleas of land, and Maldon's leet presenters.
15 Deposition of individual members remained theoretically possible, although this now lay largely with the executive; but removal of councillors en masse could not have been achieved peacefully.
16 Reynolds, English Medieval Towns, 160-61; R. Gottfried, "Bury St. Edmunds and the population of late medieval English towns, 1270-1530," Journal of British Studies, XX (1980), 2-3.
17 On this see particularly Phythian-Adams, "Ceremony and the citizen," passim, and Phythian-Adams, Desolation of a City, 180-81.
18 Tait, op.cit., 284; Phythian-Adams, Desolation of a City, 183.
19 That is, late medieval complaints may reflect higher expectations of integrity as much as, or rather than, any decline in performance by public officials. The context for this factor includes the increase in accountability measures within urban constitutions, more specification of professional standards within local legislation, and growing emphasis on experience and expertise in the selection and promotion of administrative personnel. Another indicator of a growth in expectations is the expanding output and audience of a literary genre providing advice on appropriate behaviours, both in family or public life; one form this took was the Mirror of Princes (of which a version had some official credence within the ranks of London's rulers). One might reasonably assume that corrupt behaviours by politicians or bureaucrats would be more readily and more heavily criticized in societies (notably western democracies) which have mechanisms in place to hinder, detect, and punish such behaviours, and, conversely, more likely to be shrugged off in societies where they have long been endemic; this, indeed, has been the finding of a survey undertaken in eighty-six countries in 2010 in regard to corrupt practices within the private sector.
20 From a poem by Henry VI, the full text of which is printed in J. Harvey, The Plantagenets, (London, 1959), 228.
Structure of Borough Government | Social and Economic Background of Office-Holders
Monopolisation of Office | Attitudes Towards Office-holding | Professionalism in Administration
Quality of Government | Conflict and Solidarity in Urban Politics
|Created: July 30, 1998. Last update: September 30, 2015||© Stephen Alsford, 1998-2015|