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Border Liberties and LoyaltiesNorth-East England, c. 1200 to c. 1400$
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Matthew L. Holford and Keith J. Stringer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748632787

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748632787.001.0001

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Tynedale: A Community in Transition, 1296–c. 1400

Tynedale: A Community in Transition, 1296–c. 1400

(p.291) 7 Tynedale: A Community in Transition, 1296–c. 1400
Border Liberties and Loyalties

Keith Stringer

Edinburgh University Press

Under the good lordship of the kings of Scots the liberty of Tynedale played a self-assured and potent role as a focus for the organisation of government, loyalty and community. Yet fourteenth-century Tynedale inhabited a very different universe. Indeed, during the Anglo-Scottish hostilities from 1296 and largely, though not exclusively, because of them, the liberty's position on the map of power, identities, and allegiances was reconfigured in multiple ways. This chapter shows that the liberty's owners and tenants might vigilantly defend its rights, and that the English crown often accepted that local governance was a matter for the liberty-owners or their officers. If control of forfeitures is ‘the “acid test” of palatine privilege’, the liberty fell short of this touchstone. But it belonged with Cheshire, Durham and Hexhamshire to that select group of liberties normally shielded from the growing tax-burden imposed by the crown on the rest of England, so that in this respect its privileges arguably became more distinctive and important. Lawsuits did go from the liberty to the royal courts, though apparently with no regularity; and there is concrete evidence that its own judicial system was valued by the ‘community’. It is also shown that the liberty was sometimes instrumental in structuring patterns of military recruitment and service, and — more significantly — in mobilising collective political action, notably in 1314–15 and around 1370.

Keywords:   liberty, Anglo-Scottish hostilities, map of power, local governance, tax burden, English crown, judicial system, military recruitment, political action

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