The Middling Sort and the Politics of Social Reformation

Colchester, 1570-1640

by Richard Dean Smith (Author)
Monographs XIII, 312 Pages
Series: Renaissance and Baroque, Volume 25


The interrelated demographic, economic, religious, and cultural transformations that England experienced in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries were most pronounced in larger towns in the south and east, such as Colchester in Essex. The effects produced by these changes led to an effort at social and sexual regulation by the town’s more prosperous residents, in order to control and modify the negative impact on the local population, especially the poor. This book provides an in-depth portrait of an urban setting, discussing both wrongdoers themselves and the motivations of the craftsmen and tradesmen – the «middling sorts» – who enforced local standards of conduct.


XIII, 312
ISBN (Hardcover)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2004. XIII, 312 pp., num. tables

Biographical notes

Richard Dean Smith (Author)

The Author: Richard Dean Smith received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His interests include the study of early modern English popular culture, urban societies and office-holding, and religion. He is currently teaching in Colorado and doing further research on Colchester.


Title: The Middling Sort and the Politics of Social Reformation