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Extra info for The Upper Classes: Property and privilege in Britain

Sample text

As services Magnates, Gentry and Bourgeoisie 23 were converted into monetary payments, so the crown was confronted with the problem of fiscal management. Under King lohn, taxation became both regular and severe, with baronial opposition leading to the Magna Carta agreement as a way of controlling royal finances. If the king wished to carry through policies which required taxation, and if policies went beyond current levels of taxation, it was necessary either to increase the burden of taxation or to offset the budgetary gap by borrowing from the haute bourgeoisie of the City of London.

Honour is gran ted by others and must be put in evidence. Leisure can be put in evidence through both the way in which it is used and through the tangible results of its use. The use of leisure for feasts, tournaments, hunting and other entertainments expressed the normative standards of medieval society. As vehicles far the conspicuous consumption of wealth, these leis ure activities also signified the material position of the landlord. 55 But honour can also be claimed on the basis of the tangible results of past leisure.

307-8, 127ff. 3 Rentiers, Farmers and Financiers The period from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries saw the culmination of many of the trends traced in the previous chapter. The magnates and the gentry were forged into a unified dass of landed rentiers which made itself the dominant economic and social force in the country. Together with a dass of active capitalist farmers, the landed dass revolutionised the countryside, both economically and physically. In the sphere of commerce, the haute bourgeoisie split off from the rest of the merchant community and became the core of a commercial dass centred on London, but with offshoots in a number of provincial cities.

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