Horses and the Aristocratic Lifestyle in Early Modern England

March 2018
5 black and white, 9 line illustrations
272 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781783272884
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS015000, HIS037040, NAT016000

Horses and the Aristocratic Lifestyle in Early Modern England

William Cavendish, First Earl of Devonshire (1551-1626) and his Horses

Peter Edwards

Through a study of horses, the book reveals how an important and growing aristocratic estate was managed, where the aristocrat at the centre of it - William Cavendish - travelled and how he spent his time, and how horses were one of the means by which he asserted his social status.
This book, by a leading authority on early modern social and cultural history, examines in detail how an important English aristocrat managed his horses. At the same time, it discusses how horses and the uses to which they were put were a very significant social statement and a forceful assertion of status and the right to political power. Based on detailed original research in the archives of Chatsworth House, the book explores the breeding and rearing, the buying and selling, and the care and maintenance of horses, showing how these activities fitted in to the overall management of the earl's large estates. It outlines the uses of horses as the earl and his retinue travelled to and from family, the county assizes and quarter sessions, social visits and London for "the season" and to attend Court and Parliament. It also considers the use of horses in sport: hawking, hunting, racing and the other ways in which visitors were entertained. Overall, the book provides a great deal of detail on the management of horses in the period and also on the yearly cycle of activities of a typical aristocrat engaged in service, pleasure and power.

PETER EDWARDS is an Emeritus Professor of Early Modern British Social History at the University of Roehampton. He has published numerous books including The Horse Trade of Tudor and Stuart England and Horse and Man in Early Modern England.

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Table of Contents

Running the Family Business: Landed Wealth and Estate Management
Funding the Aristocratic Lifestyle: Demesne Farming and the Price Revolution
Breeding and Rearing Horses in and for One's Image
Caveat Emptor: Buying and Selling Horses
Grooming to Perfection: The Care and Maintenance of Horses
Visiting One's 'Neighbours': Social Life in the Provinces
The Call of Duty: The Aristocracy as Public Servants
On the Road: Travel to London for the Season
The Public and Private Lives of Elite Visitors to the Capital
Passing the Time with the Aristocracy

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