- Urban Patronage in Early Modern England: Corporate Boroughs, the Landed Elite and the Crown, 1580-1640 (review)
- Australian and New Zealand Association of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Inc.)
- Volume 18, Number 2, January 2001
- pp. 205-208
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Reviews 205 a party of companions left R o m e with the intention of journeying to the Holy Land. Detailed visions accompanied her visiting of the Holy Places, including visions of key events from the N e w Testament such as the Passion and the Nativity. Birgitta returned to R o m e and died in 1373. The remainder of the book covers the canonisation process and the legacy of the Birgittine Order. The canonisation is unusually well-documented and Birgitta's supporters believed at the time of her death that the return of the pope to Rome was imminent. As the process continued, the election of Urban VI in Rome in 1378 took place and Katarina was one of the witnesses confirming the vote. Katarina returned to Sweden in 1380 with her mother still uncanonised; the process would last another 11 years. In conclusion, this is a lively and interesting book, well written and well researched. It is also handsomely illustrated by seven plates and two maps. It will be very useful to many scholars of the medieval period. Carole M. Cusack Studies in Religion University of Sydney Patterson, Catherine E , Urban Patronage in Early Modern England: Corporate Boroughs, the Landed Elite and the Crown, 1580-1640, Stanford University Press, 1999, cloth; pp. ix, 337; R R P AUS$110 (excluding G S T ) Patronage transactions constituted the heart and lungs of propertied society of all levels of government in early modern England, keeping the body politic vital and ensuring the productive coexistence of otherwise disparate individuals and entities. For half a century or more, scholars have studied the workings and significance of this cardio-pulmonary system with increasing industry and intellectual sophistication. Catherine Patterson's contribution to this enterprise i s predicated upon the fact that, despite the many works which discuss patronage in relation to the crown or the landed elite or the church, relatively little attention has been devoted to those other important entities in the realm, the towns. More specifically, her focus is on the corporate boroughs - those provincial towns whose possession of a royal charter endowed them with the privileges of local self-government and the legal status of an individual w h o could not die. Given the voluminous scholarly literature touching upon patronage in 206 Reviews early modern England, it is not surprising that much of what Patterson argues seems familiar, even expected. The value of this work is perhaps less its novelty than its elegance and comprehensiveness. Unlike previous works which have dealt with this subject, Urban Patronage seeks to explore all aspects of the complex inter-relationships between towns, the crown and the landed elite, and from the different perspectives held by each participant in these transactions. This discussion is based upon a sample of almost 2 0 % of the 150-odd boroughs in late Tudor and early Stuart England. Combined with the propensity of early modern aldermen and bailiffs to keep full records, this means that the book's elegant prose and clear argumentation rest upon an immense amount of labour in the archives. This robust evidential foundation gives the work an authoritative tone and provides a mass of colourful illustrative examples, such as the disruption caused to the corporation ofOxford and its high steward Lord Knollys by Thomas Harris in 1611 (pp. 102-6) or the earl of Huntingdon's repeated refusal to accept the symbolically and politically loaded gift of a 'fair gelding' from the town of Leicester in 1607 (pp. 205-6). If one were to criticise this book, it would be that it treats England as if it existed in a vacuum: the sophistication and competence of Patterson's analysis of English affairs is not accompanied by any sense of a broader context. There is no mention of towns in Wales, Scotland or Ireland, let alone Continental Europe. It would be unfair to push this criticism too strongly, but it might have been instructive to leam how far developments in English towns reflected broader trends in Western Europe, despite the notorious peculiarities of English law and government. Patterson's book has three key themes. Firstly, she seeks to rescue our understanding of urban patronage...