Landed gentry is a term traditionally applied in Britain to those of a certain type and education who possess land in the form of country estates, often (but not always) made up of tenanted farms. The term gentry implies that they do not hold a peerage or other hereditary title. The Peerage is a system of Titles of Nobility in the United Kingdom, part of the British honours system. The term landed esquiredom could be thought of as a more appropriate term for the class concerned. However, the fluidity of British landed society was such that it had to be gentry; the rules of who could call themselves esquire were too strict, too exclusive, for the remit of Burke's original book.
In Great Britain and Ireland, and especially in England, gentry was a term used from the late 16th century onwards. See also Kingdom of Great Britain Great Britain (Breatainn Mhòr Prydain Fawr Breten Veur Graet Breetain is the larger of the two main islands Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɾlənd/ Éire) is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland Gentry generally refers to people of high Social class, especially in the past The phrase landed gentry referred in particular to the untitled members of the landowning upper class. Landholder or landowner is a holder of the Estate in land with considerable rights of ownership or simply put an owner of land Is a concept in Sociology that refers to the group of people at the top of a Social hierarchy.
During this period, the most stable and respected form of wealth was land, and great prestige and political qualifications were attached to landownership. The government of the country was largely in the hands of the landowners. This term referred to those who owned sufficient land to be able to live on the proceeds of letting their property to tenants, or possibly by employing a steward or bailiff to farm all or part of it for them, rather than having to farm their lands themselves. A steward (from Old English stíweard stiȝweard, from stiȝ "hall household" + weard " Warden, keeper" corresponding Bailiff (from Late Latin baiulivus, Adjectival form of baiulus) is a Governor or Custodian (cf
The primary meaning of "landed gentry" encompassed those members of the landowning classes who were not members of the peerage. The Peerage is a system of Titles of Nobility in the United Kingdom, part of the British honours system. It was an informal designation: one belonged to the landed gentry if other members of the class accepted that one did so. Up until at least the early 19th century, a newly rich man who wished his family to join the gentry (and they nearly all did so wish), was expected not only to buy a country estate, but also to sever all financial ties with the business which had made him wealthy in order to cleanse his family of the "taint of trade". However, during the 19th century, as the new rich of the Industrial Revolution became more and more numerous and politically powerful, this expectation was gradually relaxed. The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries when major changes in agriculture manufacturing and transportation had a profound effect on the
Members of the landed gentry were upper class (not middle class), and, at the time, this was a highly desirable status. Is a concept in Sociology that refers to the group of people at the top of a Social hierarchy. The middle class, in colloquial usage consists of those who have some economic independence but not a great deal of social Influence or power. Particular prestige was attached to those who had inherited landed estates over a number of generations. These were often described as being from "old" families.
The agricultural sector's middle class, on the other hand, comprised the larger tenant farmers, who rented land from the landowners and employed agricultural labourers to do the manual work, and yeoman farmers. A tenant farmer is one who resides on and farms land owned by a Landlord. Yeoman is noun used to indicate a variety of positions or Social classes In the 16th century a yeoman was also a Farmer of middling social status who owned A Yeoman was at one time defined as "a person qualified by possessing free land of 40/- annual [feudal] value, and who can serve on juries and vote for a Knight of the Shire. He is sometimes described as a small landowner, a farmer of the middle classes. " (See The Concise Oxford Dictionary, edited by H. W. & F. G. Fowler, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1972 reprint, p. 1516; note the definition does not apply to 1972, but to an earlier time). Anthony Richard Wagner, Richmond Herald, wrote that "a Yeoman would not normally have less than 100 acres" and in social status is one step down from the Gentry, but above, say, a husbandman. Richmond Herald of Arms in Ordinary is an officer of arms of the College of Arms. A farmer is a person who raises living organisms for food or raw materials (English Genealogy, Oxford, 1960, pps: 125-130). So while yeoman farmers owned enough land to support a comfortable lifestyle, they nevertheless farmed it themselves, and were excluded from the "landed gentry" because working for a living, or being 'in trade' as it was termed, other than following a few 'honourable' professions connected with the upper class men's capacity as the governing elite of the country (the clergy of the established church, the armed forces, the diplomatic and civil services, and the bar and the judiciary), was considered demeaning by the upper classes, particularly by the nineteenth century, when the earlier mercantile endeavours of younger sons were increasingly discontinued. Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given Religion. An established church is a church officially sanctioned and supported by the government of a country e For the military meaning see Armed forces. For the Soviet sports society see Armed Forces (sports society Armed Forces See also Bureaucrat The term civil service has two distinct meanings Branch of governmental service in which individuals are hired on the basis A barrister is a Lawyer found in many Common law Jurisdictions that employ a split profession (as opposed to a Fused profession) in relation In Law, the judiciary or judicial system is the system of Courts which administer Justice in the name of the sovereign or State
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the names and families of those with titles (specifically peers and baronets, less often including those with the non-hereditary title of knight) were often listed in books or manuals known as "Peerages", "Baronetages", or combinations of these categories, such as the "Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage". Peers is a surname and may refer to Donald Peers Edgar Allison Peers, an English academician Gavin Peers A baronet (traditional abbreviation Bart, modern abbreviation Bt) or the rare female equivalent a baronetess (abbreviation Btss) is the holder Knight is the English term for a social position originating in the Middle Ages. As well as listing genealogical information, these books often also included details of a given family right to a coat of arms. A coat of arms or armorial bearings (often just arms for short in European tradition is a design belonging to a particular person (or group of people Jane Austen, who was herself a member of the gentry, shrewdly summarised the appeal of these works, which was particularly strong for those included in them, in the opening words of her novel Persuasion (1818):
In the 1830s, one peerage publisher, John Burke, hit on the idea of expanding his market and his readership by publishing a similar volume for people without titles, which was called A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank, abbreviated as Burke's Commoners. This was published in four volumes 1833–1838.
The expression Commoners was quickly replaced by the more flattering description Landed Gentry in a new edition of 1837–1838 which was entitled A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry; or, Commons of Great Britain and Ireland or Burke's Landed Gentry for short.
Burke's Landed Gentry continued to appear at regular intervals throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, driven, in the 19th century, principally by the energy and readable style of the founder's son and successor as editor, Sir John Bernard Burke (who generally favoured the romantic and picturesque in genealogy over the mundane, and of strictly correct). Burke's Landed Gentry (original title "Burke's Commoners") is the result of nearly two centuries of intense work by the Burke family and others since in
A review of the 1952 edition in Time magazine (10 December 1951) noted:
The last three-volume edition of Burke's Landed Gentry was published between 1965–1972. A new series, under new owners, was begun in 2001 on a regional plan, starting with Burke's Landed Gentry; The Kingdom in Scotland. However, these volumes no longer limit themselves to people with any connection, ancestral or otherwise, with land at all, and they contain much less information, particularly on family history, than the 19th and 20th century editions.
The popularity of Burke's Landed Gentry gave currency to the expression Landed Gentry as a description of the untitled upper classes in England (although the book included families, also, in Wales and Scotland and Ireland, where, however, social structures were rather different). An alternate name was employed by the publishers of a similar, though less genealogical, series, known as Walford's County Families, wherein the term county family referred more or less to the same people Burke covered by the term, landed gentry. " Walford's County Families " is the short title of a work partly Social register, partly " Who's Who " which was produced in Britain They were also known as the upper ten thousand. Upper Ten Thousand was a term used in the late 19th century to denote Britain's ruling Elite; those Rich and landed persons and families titled and untitled
Families were arranged in alphabetical order by surname, and each family article was headed with the surname and the name of their landed property, e. g. "Capron of Southwick Hall". Southwick (pronounced "Suth-ick" is a small village in Northamptonshire, England. There was then a paragraph on the owner of the property, with his coat of arms illustrated, and all his children and remoter male-line descendants also listed, each with full names and details of birth, marriage, death, and any matters tending to enhance their social prestige, such as public school and university education, military rank and regiment, Church of England cures held, and other honours and socially approved involvements. A coat of arms or armorial bearings (often just arms for short in European tradition is a design belonging to a particular person (or group of people An independent school in the United Kingdom is a school relying upon private sources for all of its funding predominantly in the form of school fees A university is an institution of Higher education and Research, which grants Academic degrees in a variety of subjects The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England, the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Cross references were included to other families in Burke's Landed Gentry or in Burke's Peerage and Baronetage: thus encouraging a form of browsing through connexions analogous to the way in which we now browse through the internet via hyperlinks. Burke's Peerage Baronetage & Knightage is an authoritative in-depth historical guide to the titled families of the United Kingdom. Professional details were not usually mentioned unless they conferred some social status, such as those of clergymen, UK and colonial officials, judges and barristers.
After the section dealing with the current owner of the property, there usually appeared a section entitled Lineage which listed, not only ancestors of the owner, but (so far as known) every male line descendant of those ancestors, thus including many people in the ranks of the "Landed Gentry" families who had never owned an acre in their lives but who might share in the status of their eponymous kin as connected, however remotely to the landed gentry or to a county family.
A prolonged agricultural depression in Britain at the end of the 19th century, together with the introduction in the early 20th century of increasingly heavy levels of taxation on inherited wealth, put an end to agricultural land as the primary source of wealth for the English upper classes. Many estates were sold or broken up, and this trend was accelerated by the introduction of protection for agricultural tenancies, encouraging outright sales, from the mid-20th century.
So devastating was the effect of this on the ranks formerly identified as being of the landed gentry that Burke's Landed Gentry began, in the 20th century, to include families historically in this category who had ceased to own their ancestral lands. The focus of those who remained in this beleaguered class shifted from the lands or estates themselves, to the stately home or "seat" which was in many cases retained without the surrounding lands. A stately home is strictly speaking one of about 500 large properties built in England between the mid-16th century and the early part of the 20th century as well as converted Many of these buildings were purchased for the nation and preserved as monuments to the lifestyles of their former owners (who sometimes remained in part of the house as lessees or tenants) by the National Trust, which accelerated its country house acquisition programme during and after the Second World War (it had originally concentrated on open landscapes rather than buildings). The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organization in England, Wales World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including Those who retained their property usually had to supplement their incomes from elsewhere than the land, sometimes by opening their properties to the public.
In the 21st century, the term "landed gentry" is still used to some degree, as the landowning class still exists in a diminished form, but it increasingly refers more to historic than to current landed wealth or property in a family. Moreover, the respect which was once automatically given to members of this class by most British people has almost completely dissipated as its wealth, political power and social influence has declined, and other social figures have grown to take their place in the public's interest (see Celebrity). A celebrity is a widely-recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of public and media attention