Blood on the Crown
: Treason in the Royal Kinship Structure of Fifteenth Century England

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The aim of this thesis is to explore late medieval attitudes and perceptions towards treason in the fifteenth-century English royal family, as well as to question the reason for its increasingly frequent presence in the royal kinship structure, through several key themes—law, chivalry, gender and the familial memory. Defining this notion of the familial memory is another aim of this study, to illustrate the presence of this idea as a social influence that has been understudied in part as a result of its intangibility. However, while evidence for it might be difficult and frequently requires historians to move beyond traditional sources, it does exist. It is present, for instance, in building projects that span generations, littered with familial symbols which highlight what families wished to remember as a house. Changes in law trace shifting contemporary attitudes and concerns surrounding both family memory and treason. The discrepancies between the ways royal men and women were accused and convicted for treason delineates the inherent complexity of the two concepts. Literature shows the fluctuating trends and values through eras in regards to loyalty, treason and family, while surviving familial libraries and works dedicated to various key historical figures tell us what was perceived as specifically important to a given house at different points in time. With these various elements taken in analysis together, an evolving attitude towards the intermingling of treason, family identity and political legacy in fifteenth-century England becomes clearer.
Date of Award18 Apr 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorJames Ross (Supervisor) & Ellie Woodacre (Supervisor)


  • treason
  • law
  • family
  • chivalry
  • memory
  • royalty

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