The 'maiores barones' in the second half of the reign of Edward I, (1290-1307)
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The second half of the reign of Edward I saw the Emergence of a parliamentary peerage in embryo. The maiores barones comprising it owed their position to regular individual summonses to parliament and to major military campaigns of the period, particularly in Scotland. This was coupled with either substantial wealth based on landholdings, though not a particular type of tenure, or a lengthy record of loyal service to the Crown either in one particular area of local or national government or over a range of activities. Service to the Crown, outwith provision of advice and counsel in parliament and cavalry service in major campaigns, was not as widespread as many historians have argued. Such service was primarily, though not exclusively, local, performed in counties where maiores barones had their principal estates. It covered military activity outwith major campaigns; keeperships of castles; preparations for war; the administration of justice; dependency government; diplomatic service overseas and the royal household. The majority of barons who provided such service to the Crown were adequately rewarded by Edward I whose system of patronage can be described as prudent, rather than niggardly, the commonly accepted view. Rewards were mainly in the form of grants of land, particularly in conquered territories; grants of wardships and marriages; financial benefits in the form of respites and cancellation of debts, wages and fees; preferential treatment in judicial matters; royal appointments constituting rewards in themselves, and elevation in social status and prominence.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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