The titular nobility in the early Tudor Age : a statistical analysis of marriage patterns, 1485-1547



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The political, social, and economic changes that marked the early Tudor Age effected the lives of all Englishmen. To the noble class, the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII brought a loss of security. As royal power increased, the peers' political strength and independent power declined. As society became more fluid and economic fortune moved into new hands, the nobles experienced increasing difficulties. The peers' decline of fortune is substantiated through a study of their marriages. The alliances contracted by those holding the titles of duke, marquis, and earl from 1485 to 1547 reflect the insecurity of the highest nobility, particularly under Henry VIII. Statistical data such as the number of marriages and the marriage partners' social and economic status reveal a concern among the Tudor nobility for their well-being. There is evidence that marriage was used as one device of strengthening the faltering position of England's elite class.



History, Marriage, England, Sixteenth century