Petitionary Negotiation in a Community in Conflict: King’s Lynn and West Norfolk c.1575 to 1662

Smith, Peter (2012) Petitionary Negotiation in a Community in Conflict: King’s Lynn and West Norfolk c.1575 to 1662. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This study examines petitions which originated in Norfolk during the first half of the seventeenth century. It asks three questions: How and by whom were petitions used? What do those petitions reveal about power relations and social values? What was the impact of the civil war and the interregnum on petitionary negotiations? Detailed research focuses on Norfolk in general and King’s Lynn in particular.
Petitioners sought places and advancement, as well as redress for ills and injustices. Petitions were indicators of where authority and responsibility were perceived to lie, but also of the status of the petitioners and their right to be heard. Petitions also helped to reflect and generate socio-political expectations and values. The persistence of petitioning, even in times of greatest conflict, indicates the high value placed on this form of interactive negotiation.
The background to individual petitions is shown by a review of the political environments of petitioning and the process of petitioning examined for the period c.1600-1640. The study identifies a network of Norfolk arbitrators to whom the crown and petitioners turned for assistance.
Petitions to Norfolk Quarter Sessions from 1629 to 1660 provide evidence of social values and accountability, while a study compares the varied impact of the civil wars on petitioners to Quarter Sessions in Norfolk, Warwickshire and Essex.
Two printed petitions are put into a local context. The first, called here the Merchants’ Manifesto, was published on behalf of the Borough of King’s Lynn in 1642 and reflects the concerns of the borough over the previous ten years. This is followed by an exploration of the town’s continued use of petitioning in its negotiations with Parliament in the years to 1662. West Norfolk women who signed a national anti-tithe petition, published in 1659, are identified and the impact of the petition on the Norfolk political community is discussed. A further case study looks at the complex issues underlying a comparatively straightforward petition against marshland enclosure.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2012 16:53
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2012 16:53

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