The ‘holy grail’ for academic local historians over the past 50 or so years has been the search for regions, a search conducted partly out of genuine interest, partly as a parallel to regional geography, and partly from motives of self-preservation resulting from fears that ‘local history’ conveyed the impression of being parochial and antiquarian. W. G.
In terms of its published historiography, the Southwest of 15th-century England remains one of the few grey, if not blank, areas on the map. Although several doctoral theses have been written on parts of the region since the late 1970s, what has been published takes mostly article form and is consequently comparatively narrow in focus.
The cover to the hardback edition of Edward Vallance’s A Radical History of Britain shows a Union Jack superimposed on a montage (King John signing the Magna Carta, the German Peasants’ War of 1525 (1), the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the Jarrow Crusade and the Battle of Cable Street) designed to illustrate the book’s subtitle: Visionaries, Rebels and Revol
In February 2005 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded over £3 million to the Victoria County History (VCH) – the high priest of England’s local history – to establish an ambitious new local history project, England’s Past for Everyone (EPE).
Most medievalists would be able to cite an example of the close parallels in symbolic thinking about the city and world in the Middle Ages, whether along the lines of ideas of Rome as caput mundi or Augustine’s Two cities.
Helen Lacey’s excellent book appears at a time when the exercise of executive and judicial clemency has become a topical talking point.
David Rollison has written a remarkable work of social and political history: vertiginously ambitious, A Commonwealth of the People showcases England’s constitutional and economic development from the 11th to the 17th century within world histories of nationalism, democratization, and globalization. ‘My subject’, he writes, ‘is the emergence of a “civilization”’ (p. 16).
This a remarkable book, based on decades of close study of medieval conveyancing documents. The abbreviations list more than 150 cartularies or other charter collections that are cited. Technical as many of the concerns are, the subject provides an ideal bridge between legal and other aspects of history.
The Rituals and Rhetoric of Queenship; Medieval to Early Modern is a collection of papers which originated in a conference held at Canterbury Christ Church University in August 2006.
What can we know about late-medieval, pre-Reformation English parliaments? Previous to this book, only a few secondary scatterings. The English Parliaments of Henry VII 1485–1504, therefore, pulls this topic together, gives synthesis to such scattered references, and then thoroughly researches and documents extant bits and pieces from contemporary primary evidence.