The Livery Collar in Late Medieval England and Wales

June 2016
12 colour, 10 black and white illustrations
271 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781783271153
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, ART015000

The Livery Collar in Late Medieval England and Wales

Politics, Identity and Affinity

Matthew Ward

First full examination of the medieval livery collar, form, function, and significance.
The livery collar had a pervasive presence in late-medieval England. Worn about the neck to denote service to a lord, references to the collar abound in government records, contemporary chronicles and correspondence, and many depictions of the collar can be found in illuminated manuscripts and on church monuments. From the fifteenth century the collar was regarded as a powerful symbol of royal power, the artefact associating the recipient with the king; it also played a significant function in the construction and articulation of political and other group identities during the period.
This first book-length study of the livery collar examines its cultural and political significance from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, in particular between 1450 and 1500, the period associated with the Wars of the Roses. It explores the principal meanings bestowed on the collar, considers the item in its various political contexts, and places the collar within the sphere of medieval identity construction. It also investigates the motives which lay behind its distribution, shedding new light on the nature and understanding of royal power at the time.

Matthew Ward teaches medieval history at the University of Nottingham.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Livery Collar and its Contexts
Function, Meaning and Significance
The Political Milieu
Visual Culture, Agency and Identities of Association
The Appearance of Lancastrian and Yorkist Livery Collars on Church Monuments: Distribution and Motivations
Livery Collars in Wales and the Edgecote Connection
Appendix 1: Genealogies
Appendix 2: Livery Collars on Church Monuments in England, Wales and Ireland to c. 1540


Carefully researched and well-written..[The author] Ward has rendered a valuable service to scholars of the late Middle Ages by focusing on one of the more ubiquitous cultural symbols of the age. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

A revelation for anyone interested in livery collars and what they meant. THE RICARDIAN

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