Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series: Series Number 11: Richard III: A Study of Service

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Despite the recent renaissance in studies of the reign of Richard III, most historians have remained focussed on conventional themes, especially the character and motivation of the king and the fate of his nephews. Less attention, as a result, has been devoted to the reign's importance in the patterns of late medieval government and in the evolution of royal authority. Basing her research on a wide range of archival material, Dr Horrox attempts to correct this thematic imbalance by highlighting a crucial feature of royal government in the period, the role of the king's servants. For the years immediately before and during Richard's reign, the book fully explores the practicalities of having commands obeyed, the reciprocal nature of service relationships and the whole structure of late medieval 'affinities', or client systems. Indeed, this first full-length study of royal patronage in a period of social and political upheaval will prove invaluable to anyone concerned with the dynamics of power and executive government on a national and local level. Inevitably, it will also alter our understanding of the reasons for the fall of the last Yorkist king and shed light on broader issues in fifteenth-century politics.