The World of the Stonors

The World of the Stonors

A Gentry Society

Elizabeth Noble


Boydell Press



First full-length survey of the Stonors, an important gentry family during the middle ages, exploring the wide connections they fostered.
The Stonor letters and papers are second in quantity only to the Paston letters. Nevertheless, while studies of the parvenu Pastons of Norfolk abound, no historian has used the Stonor archive to write about this significantly longer-established gentry family from Oxfordshire, despite the fact that their letters and papers have been available in print since the early twentieth century and have been recently re-issued. This present study helps to rectify that oversight. It argues that lineage, land and lordship were crucial elements in the Stonors' world, both materially and culturally, providing them with status and identity. They asserted their gentle lineage using a range of symbolic and other means, but did not neglect the more mundane management of their scattered lands. Ties of lordship with the influential helped them to retain these lands, and it is clear that the Stonors worked hard to foster relationships with kin and neighbours: indeed, their letters and papers allow us a far more extensive yet intimate view of all these social ties (extending over several counties) than is usually possible for the gentry.

Dr ELIZABETH NOBLE teaches in the School of the Humanities, University of New England, New South Wales.


January 2009
2 line illustrations
234 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843834298
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Approaching the Stonors and their Papers
The Stonors: A Gentry Family Biography
Landed Estate
The Stonors' Lords
Early Social Networks: Judge John to Thomas I
Later Social Networks and Gentry Values: Thomas II and William
Conclusion: Gentry Networks, Culture, Mentality and Society


Their papers shed light on aspects of gentry life that are largely left in the dark in other fifteenth-century family letter collections. MEDIEVAL PROSOPOGRAPHY

A careful and well researched analysis of this family, one that reveals much about the social and economic milieu of the minor aristocracy in late medieval England. MEDIUM AEVUM

Dr Noble has done us a great service in drawing the medieval historian's attention to the Stonors. SOUTHERN HISTORY
There is sensitive and careful work here, all the more effectively presented for its depiction of the Stonors against a broad historiographical background. Noble summarises the latest thinking on the gentry, on their economic fortunes, and on lordship and kinship in order to provide the setting for her own findings. ARCHIVES