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From Robber Barons to Courtiers (Hardback)

The Changing World of the Lovells of Titchmarsh

P&S History > By Century > 15th Century P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval History P&S History > Social History

By Monika E Simon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 14 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526751072
Published: 30th June 2021

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Francis Lovell is without a doubt the most famous - if not the only famous - Lovell of Titchmarsh. In 1483 he was he was made a viscount by Edward IV, the first Lovell to be raised into the titled nobility. He is most famous for being the chamberlain and close friend of Richard III, the 'dog' of William Collingbourne's famous doggerel.

Though Francis Lovell is the best known member of his family, the Lovells were an old aristocratic family, tracing their roots back to eleventh-century Normandy. Aside from the Battle of Hastings, a Lovell can be found at virtually all important events in English history, whether it was the crusade of Richard I, the Battle of Lewes, the siege of Calais, the Lambert Simnel rebellion against Henry VII, or the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Over the centuries the Lovells rose in wealth and power through service to the crown, rich marriages, and, to a considerable degree, luck.

The history of the Lovells of Titchmarsh, from their relatively obscure beginnings in the border region between France and Normandy to a powerful position at the royal court, not only illustrates the fate of this one family but also throws an interesting light on the changes and developments in medieval and Tudor England. Several themes emerge as constant in the lives of an aristocratic family over the five centuries covered in this book: the profit and perils of service to the crown, the influences of family tradition and personal choice, loyalty and opportunism, skill and luck, and the roles of women in the family.

I had not heard of the Lovells and wanted to get some more background on them, and in this book I got more than I asked for, it has a lot of fascinating detail in all aspects of the family covering a 500 year period, from humble beginnings in France to the royal courts of Henry VIII.

I found using the 11 geologies near the back of the book very helpful when reading through the book to keep the family and dates in order.

The pictures of the ruins of some of their homes was a nice touch to help picture where they lived.

A very well researched book with some nice insights into a family probably most people may not have heard of.

A recommended read for anyone interested in the history of England.

For the Love of Books

'Overall, this book achieves what it sets out to do: it engagingly tells the story of the Lovell family from their beginnings in Normandy in the eleventh century through to their fall in the late fifteenth and sixteenth.While it would have benefited from one or two additional thematic chapters that further explored pertinent themes, it nevertheless represents a useful contribution to our understanding of the nobility of medieval England.'

Speculum, July 2023

"Overall this is not only a
major contribution to the study
of the Lovell family but is also
a valuable guide to the changes
that took place in society from
the ‘robber barons’ who
maintained their power and
influence by means of fortified
castles to people who derived
their power and influence
from being members of a royal
court. A fascinating read!"

The Ricardian Bulletin, June 2022

This in my opinion is quite a remarkable book in that it looks at the course or path of a family called the Lovells from as far back as its roots in Normandy, to England and then through time as the family name is represented long into the future and through the medieval period. Although they may not have been able to be the very top, the Lovells it turns out was among the elite of England. I found this book impressive in its research and detail, being able to go so far back when records were not great is an impressive feat.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

As featured on History of War

History of War

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I learned a lot and was fascinated by the history of this family and how they came into power.
It's a well researched and well written book, informative and interesting.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

About Monika E Simon

Monika E. Simon studied Medieval History, Ancient History, and English Linguistics and Middle English Literature at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich from which she received an MA. She wrote her DPhil thesis about the Lovells of Titchmarsh at the University of York. She lives and works in Munich.

The death of John Lovell VII

10th September 1408

John Lovell VII, the 5th Baron of Titchmarsh, died on 10 September 1408. He began his career as a courtier in the last years of Edward III's reign and became a Knight of the garter in 1405. Other notable achievements include the building of Wardour Castle in Wiltshire.


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