The pressing preoccupation of the insular baronage
with landed wealth, and with the role of women in its transmission and circulation, translates directly into a romance in which, true to its genre, heiresses and wealthy dowagers play a central role and feudal law is defended against its principal violator, King John.
The more recent work of Maddicott and Phillips moved the historical focus away from a baronage
who presented a more or less united front and acted in the best interests of the Crown and realm, towards an interpretation where the personality and self-interests of the key players were deciding factors in the conflicts of the day.
NO LESS an authority than Frederick Hogarth, of the Baronage
Press, has pronounced that, of the late Queen Mother's 49 known ancestors one was Scottish, 34 English, eight Anglo-Irish, one an Englishborn Huguenot, and one Virginian.
Moreover, in all editions of Britannia, each county's perambulation closes with an abbreviated baronage
illustrating the creation of peerages and tracing their descents.
In plays written before the Civil War, the favourites are enemies to the ancient baronage
, as Blair Warden points out.
: If you want to remind yourself of just who Diana was before she married Prince Charles, you can find out all you need to know about what she could be called - in Scotland, it seems, she was Duchess of Rothesay and Countess of Carrick.
His Trickster of Liberty: Tribal Heirs to a Wild Baronage
at Petronia (1988) describes a whole family of Indian tricksters who rebel against conventional systems and establish ingenious enterprises.
of Bretayne thane, bechopes and othire, Graythes them to Glaschenbery with gloppynnande hertes To bery thar the bolde kynge and bryng to pe erthe, With all wirchipe and welthe pat any wy scholde.
As an essentially peaceable and sedentary monarch, Paris places Edward in his palace at Westminster in 'parliament' (an early occurrence of this word is used in the Life) with his baronage
. Westminster is the true political centre of the kingdom.
There he found an English baronage
that was not enamoured of either side and quite naturally wanted to squeeze every possible gain out of the stalemate.
Given current views on the medieval desire for effective rule, this restoration is no longer seen as something to be imposed on a recalcitrant baronage
, but even so there are likely to be technical problems in reactivating the machinery of royal government if it has once lapsed.
If King John had been less devious and vindictive, or if a committed section of the English baronage
had been less determined, there perhaps would not have been any Magna Carta.