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John Hopton: A Fifteenth Century Suffolk Gentleman by Colin Richmond

By Colin Richmond

John Hopton's grownup lifestyles spanned the years among 1430 and 1478, apparently essentially the most turbulent sessions in English heritage. He, despite the fact that, neither turns out to were by way of the 'Wars of the Roses', nor to have displayed these attitudes usually attributed to the higher sessions of the time: unflagging vanity, brutal ambition, greedy competitiveness. If his vices weren't extravagant, his virtues too have been unexceptional, these probably of a kind of nation gentleman we often go along with a later age. Colin Richmond's ebook is an try to position a selected English gentleman within the framework of the realm he knew. It opens with the tale of this landless Yorkshireman's acquisition of wealthy homes in Suffolk, and a dialogue of these estates themselves, how they have been controlled and their yield; it keeps with an outline of John, his notable moment spouse Thomasin, their kin, and their lifestyles at Blythburgh.

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There is, however, no record of him serving in the expedition which sailed in July 1417. 89 He was then said to be twentyfive years old and had less than a year to live. He died in April 87 38 39 With 4 men at arms and 11 archers; his brother-in-law Sir John Gra also served: Sir N. H. Nicolas, The Battle of Agincourt (1832), PP380, 3 8 5 ; see PRO, E 4 0 4 / 3 1 / 2 2 8 and Gra E 4 0 4 / 3 1 / 3 7 9 , E 1 0 1 / 6 9 / 3 / 3 7 5 . PRO, E 1 0 1 / 7 0 / 2 / 5 9 3 , with one other man at arms and 6 archers; Sir John Gra served on the same terms: E 1 0 1 / 7 0 / 3 / 6 2 4 .

R. Davies' outstanding paper 'Baronial Accounts, Incomes and Arrears in the Later Middle Ages', EcHR xxi (1968). 17 JOHN HOPTON John. Not that he should have done. 69 William, Thomas' father, had been a great York burgess too, but John, like so many representatives of the third generation of English merchant families was a gentleman and, in his case anyway, a soldier. Did his gentlemanly tastes prove too grand for his lands, which his father had so carefully acquired in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire,70 to bear?

Such ambition as he did have was for his children; for himself the life of an independent country gentleman was enough. To achieve that position he had had to exercise no talent, exert no influence, make no decision. He was beholden to no one: father, friend or patron. Least of all had he himself to thank: no strenuous efforts in the arts of peace or war had made him what he was. He is for that reason an untypical figure. Made neither by birth, nor service, nor marriage, he is in this respect unlike many of his better known East Anglian neighbours, some of whom we shall encounter later.

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