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The Gascoigne family, c. 1309-1592: Gentry and identity

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The Gascoigne family, c. 1309-1592: Gentry and identity
Christopher Matthew Bovis


Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York , York YO10 5DD, UNITED KINGDOM.


This thesis is an examination of the family in the late medieval and Tudor period. It is intended to demonstrate the potential of gentry studies which adopt an interdisciplinary framework through a combination of history and archaeology. It is also an examination of gentry identity and its relationship to the family. A single family will be used for this examination: the Gascoigne family of Yorkshire. Multiple branches will be examined, including the branches of Gawthorpe, Lasingcroft, Cardington and Hunslet. This enables the assessment to include the variances in identities between each branch of the family. Ultimately, this investigation reveals the complexity of identity within a singular family and posits the consequences of this in the wider historiographical debate.

Chapter One of this thesis will introduce the Gascoigne Family. It will bring together evidence from a myriad of different sources to recreate, as far as possible, the Gascoigne family history. Chapter Two assesses the social networks of the family, and ultimately discerns that career-based networks tend to be short-lived in comparison with networks based upon kinship and location. Chapters Three and Four considers the involvement of the Gascoigne family in politics and the law. It examines office-holding and magnate affinities and proposes that the appointment of William Gascoigne I as Chief Justice of England was the culmination of a period of politicisation within the legal sphere. Chapter Five examines the family’s relationship with the landscape, with specific focus on tomb monuments and manorial complexes. This thesis concludes by showing that the Gascoigne family as a single entity cannot be adequately defined, and that interdisciplinary frameworks offer an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the past.