'An honourable estate': a study of marriage in an elite family network, 1660-1753

Charles, L., 2021. 'An honourable estate': a study of marriage in an elite family network, 1660-1753. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

This project investigates the ideals and experience of elite marriage in early modern Britain through a detailed examination of a select network of individuals connected via the Cavendish family. Whilst certain individuals in the Cavendish family have received a great deal of scholarly attention for their personal accomplishments, the marriage practices of the family remain largely unexplored. This thesis utilises the wealth of primary source material pertaining to the marriages of the family, contending that their matches were also of great importance on a national stage, linking many of the most important families of the period. As such, this study utilises a network approach, allowing for an exploration of the importance and endurance of ties made through elite marriage, as well as identifying themes, challenges, and behaviours particular to the peerage as a group.

Prescriptive literature of the period pertaining to marriage and the family is examined, drawing on theories from the field of the history of emotions to uncover emotional standards in addition to ideals of behaviour. This is examined in conjunction with personal source material of the Cavendish family network to determine how far such ideals were reflective of, or impacted the lives of elite individuals, finding that the contradictions of marital duties as espoused by authors were similarly faced in lived experience. The experience of marriage for the individuals within this network is charted throughout its life-cycle, from the arrangement of matches through to widowhood and potential remarriage, emphasising the importance and endurance of familial involvement throughout all stages. Overall, this thesis contends that the experience of early modern elite marriage was neither entirely governed by practical considerations nor sentiment, instead arguing for an interdependency and interweaving between the two.

Item Type: Thesis
Description: In collaboration with the Midlands 4 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership
Creators: Charles, L.
Date: September 2021
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 29 Jun 2022 09:31
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2022 09:31
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/46512

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