This introductory chapter first sets out the purpose of the book, which is to examine lordship and society in the north-east of England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In part it explores the workings of political life in the English Borders in ways that may usefully advance research into the structures and dynamics of medieval frontierlands. More particularly, by addressing the institutions and political cultures of medieval England beyond its metropolitan heartlands, it aims to achieve fresh perspectives on the realities of power and politics that underlay Westminster-centred orthodoxies about the English experience of ‘state-making’. The chapter then discusses the various liberties of the north-east.
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