David Crouch offers a new approach to the fascinating study of aristocracy in England, Wales, and Scotland and is the first to relate developments in the aristocracies in all three countries during the period of study. His approach is also original in examining the material manifestations of aristocracy rather than looking at institutions and charter-attestations.
In the first part of the book he writes about hereditary titles including those of earl and prince and also expands on the social styles of baron, knight, and squire. The second part of the book focuses on aristocratic insignia and behavior, including chapters on heraldry, material attributes such as coronets and scepters, the aristocratic household, residence, and religious patronage.
Working from these, the book constructs a fresh picture of the growth in numbers and self-consciousness of the aristocracy in England and the effect that this had on Welsh and Scottish society. There is also an extensive introduction on medieval ideas and modern perceptions of aristocracy.