This latest volume in the Royal Historical Society's Camden Fifth Series is a new and comprehensive edition of the only surviving northern medieval letter collection. Of particular value to social and legal historians, Joan Kirby's text contains a wealth of material unavailable to the editor of the 1836 edition. The collection offers a vivid portrayal of a northern knightly family during a period of decline in the military function of knighthood. Parochial, proud, violent and litigious, as Percy tenants and feed officials their fortunes fluctuated with those of their patrons; loyalty to the Lancastrian cause in 1461, for example, cost both families loss of life, liberty and office. Two protracted lawsuits drew them deep into the complexities of the legal process and political patronage, and the resulting correspondence with their lawyers constitutes a unique source for Northern history.
'For the prevalence of litigation in gentry circles, the ingenuity of lawyers and the manifold shortcomings of the law ... the Plumpton archive is invaluable.' Keith Dockray, History 'This volume is absolutely essential for all libraries of fifteenth-century English studies. It covers all the available letters and the most important documents, with detailed notes on every point ... it is an outstanding edition of an almost unique source.' Parergon