Politics and culture in the city 1660-1790 : the corporation and the development of Chester

Jean. Whinton, Emma
(2000) Politics and culture in the city 1660-1790 : the corporation and the development of Chester. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This thesis examines the political and cultural development of a 'major English city from the Restoration to the eve of the French Revolution. During this period many English boroughs were to experience the interference of royal regulation in the 1660s and 1680s, face two new regimes, under William III and George I, and two armed rebellions, in 1715 and 1745. By focusing on one important provincial town which felt the direct impact of these events, the influence of the corporation in dealing with these developments will be discussed. The central focus is the role of the corporation, a little studied organ of local government, and the impact it could exert over the city's development. By studying the impact of politics on urban society, the important role of the corporate body can be seen. Several key themes are developed, showing the existence and impact of faction within the corporation, the growth in influence of the Grosvenor family of Eaton Hall and the challenges to the elitist nature of the corporate body. Chester developed socially and culturally during this period and this thesis will chart the changing experience of the city as it responded to both national and local initiatives. This is seen through the development of the town's economy, in trade and communication improvements, and through the development of shops and wholesale facilities. Changes were visible in the fabric of the town, with new roads, public buildings, amenities, the foundation of a charity school and infirmary, and the provision of entertainment for a leisured elite. The corporation was instrumental in some, although not all, of the cultural changes taking place within the city and had an impact on the development of the cityscape. The corporation is examined as an institution of local government, whose membership indicates the workings of the local elite. The corporation's direction of the city's general development and its key role in representing the city's interests, especially in trade, is a continuing theme in the later chapters, showing the connection between Chester's political and cultural development. The bulk of this thesis is covered by a chronologically-based analysis of the city's political development 1660-1790. Of central interest before 1700 is the struggle for the control of the corporation, which was especially fierce 1682-1697. After a period of political stability at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the growth in the influence of the Grosvenors had an impact on both the city of Chester and the corporate body. Analysis suggests, however, that the dominance of this family was not a foregone conclusion, and that the corporate body had a significant role to play in the relationship between the city and the Grosvenors. By the end of the eighteenth century this relationship was seen as oppressive to the freemen of the city, a faction of whom challenged the elitist nature of the corporation in an attempt to free one of the city's parliamentary seats. Throughout the period the corporation dictated the pace of local change, and this thesis illustrates the impact of this organisation upon urban society. In Chester, the corporation had an influence over the development of the city and significantly affected the city's political and cultural life.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2023 10:59
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2023 11:15
DOI: 10.17638/03176151
Copyright Statement: Copyright © and Moral Rights for this thesis and any accompanying data (where applicable) are retained by the author and/or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge.
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3176151