My thesis – entitled “The Distribution of Royal Patronage to the Gentry in Henry VI’s Minority, 1422-c.1437″ – examines socio-political history during this period with a focus on the following themes:
- Understandings of service and reward
- Workings of royal patronage
- Contemporary perceptions of the relationship between ruler and ruled
- Establishing authority and absent authority
- Minority and personal kingship
- Provision of counsel
- Relationship between political centre and localities
- Gentry social networks and their role in maintaining royal authority
- Questions of county communities
I also enjoy engaging with questions on political and politicised spaces, emotional experiences of and reactions to politics, and questions of self-definition amongst the gentry.
Social Network Analysis has been particularly useful to me in the third section of my thesis, which analyses the role of gentry social networks in establishing and maintaining royal authority beyond Westminster throughout Henry VI’s minority reign. To do this, I have focused on three case studies: Yorkshire, Norfolk, and London and the Home Counties.