Home » The Yorkist Age: Daily Life During the Wars of the Roses by Paul Murray Kendall
The Yorkist Age: Daily Life During the Wars of the Roses Paul Murray Kendall

The Yorkist Age: Daily Life During the Wars of the Roses

Paul Murray Kendall

Published October 1st 1970
ISBN : 9780393005585
524 pages
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 About the Book 

There are many books about daily life in the middle ages. However, they often cover a broad period (several centuries) in the middle ages and may cover continental kingdoms. Few, if any, focus so specifically on the social history of the Wars of the Roses.While if memory serves this book takes many examples from London, it also discusses examples from Bristol and other medieval English cities.The city of London played a decisive role in 1461 when Edward IV overthrew the Lancastrians. However, there are relatively few books that discuss London and the politics between the wealthy merchants, guilds, and mayor.Dating back to the middle ages, London has had a legally distinct status and level of autonomy, especially in regards to trade. This book indirectly alludes to the origins of this power.Kendall divided the book into three major sections: (1) The Mayor, (2) Other Important People, and (3) The Household.The Mayor includes:1. The Mayor at Home - discusses the role of guilds on an everyday level2. The Mayor: Abroad3. Rebel Against the Mayor4. The Lord Mayor of London - discusses the socio-economic changes in London, how it drew the young/ambitiousOther Important People includes:5. The King and the Royal Household - the splendour of the court in detail amongst other topics6. Lords and Gentry7. Churchmen and the Church8. Merchants, Pirates, Aliens, and Lawyers - piracy was an important and underdiscussed issue affecting the wool trade and prosperity, in the 1460s and 70s. Kendall provides extensive detail about the everyday issues wool traders encountered and their role in Englands economy. While Kendall doesnt appear to discuss the break with the Hanse around ~1468, this book would likely provide helpful background material.The Household includes:9. The Fabric of Life - the material life (e.g., household good, tapestries, plates) of the middle and upper-middle classes10. The Marriage Hunt - a discussion of gentry marriages11. Wives12. ChildrenI strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand how the middle ages felt if you werent royalty. I also strongly recommend this book for historical novelists. I would not necessarily recommend this book for people looking to understand the political events in the Wars of the Roses - that isnt within the books scope.This book provides more details about daily life than Ive seen anywhere else. In fact, in many ways, this book is a towering achievement. Kendall bases a lot of it on the Paston letters, but appears to also use numerous other sources. The bibliography is a superior resource.I would have given this book five stars, but while it is an excellent resource, it isnt riveting. I think this may be because it doesnt have an overarching narrative and tends to have a fair number of disparate facts. Still, dont let that deter you from reading it because it still an illuminating read.Those interested in the city of London or the lives of the gentry, might also enjoy Desmond Sewards The Wars of the Roses: Through the Lives of Five Men and Women of the Fifteenth Century. The two books might be interesting to read one after the other.By Jamie Adair