Centre and Localities

Authored by: J. P. D. Cooper

The Elizabethan World

Print publication date:  September  2010
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415409599
eBook ISBN: 9781315736044
Adobe ISBN: 9781317565796


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For the historian aspiring to write on Tudor government, the starting point still has to be Geoffrey Elton. Published in 1960, The Tudor Constitution presents 450 pages of documents and commentary describing Crown and council, seals and secretaries, church and parliament, before turning at last to the agencies of local government, which it dispatches in only twenty. Elton’s respect for his adopted England, and the structures that had sustained its liberty, led him naturally to focus on the central institutions of the Tudor state. But Elton was also hindered, as he pointed out, by the absence of research on the localities: ‘Attempts to understand how the Government’s orders were transmitted and executed, how the localities ran their affairs, or how these things developed in time, meet unsolved problems at every turn.’ 1

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