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The Character of English Rural SocietyEarls Colne, 1550-1750$
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Henry French and Richard Hoyle

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719051081

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719051081.001.0001

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The lords of Earls Colne

The lords of Earls Colne

(p.81) 3 The lords of Earls Colne
The Character of English Rural Society

H. R. French

R. W. Hoyle

Manchester University Press

The decisive feature of Earls Colne during the century after 1592 was that it was in the hands of a resident gentry family, the Harlakendens, whose financial and property interests did not extend far beyond its boundaries. As gentry with puritan inclinations, and as JPs, they were members of an elite group of Essex gentry to which they were also connected to marriage. The Harlakendens' interest in, and integration into, the village meant that after their acquisition of the manors, the relationship between lord and tenants changed. For the earls of Oxford, particularly Edward de Vere, seventeenth earl (1550–1604), the two manors were of importance only as part of the patchwork of estates from which they drew income. For the Harlakendens, the two manors were their prime concern, and constant interest, over three generations. In many respects, this meant that the Harlakendens had a greater influence in the parish, and could govern behaviour and attitudes within it to a greater extent than the De Veres did. This chapter shows how this personal involvement often meant that the Harlakendens became enmeshed in local disputes and animosities, rather than being able to prevent or rise above them. Moreover, the Harlakendens may have brought conflict upon themselves.

Keywords:   gentry family, Harlakendens, De Veres, Essex, manors

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