Making Decisions in a Bureaucratising Monarchy: England, c.1350-c.1550
Royal decision-making in the politics and political culture of later medieval England
This lecture looks at the role of royal decision-making in the politics and political culture of later medieval England. It focuses on an implicit tension between, on the one hand, the continuing need for a single and superior arbiter, and, on the other, the changing reality of institutional growth, which created new reservoirs of power and knowledge beyond the capacities of the royal person. How was the king’s authority maintained and protected over the course of the period, as a governing structure dominated by royal lordship mutated into a cluster of networks and ministries? How central was decision-making in the representation – and real composition – of that authority? Starting out from three different perspectives on kingly decision-making, the talk aims to reveal some unexpected convergences and compromises that help to explain how a potentially volatile combination of personal and bureaucratic power was maintained across time.