The parish elite at play? Cricket, community and the ‘middling sort’ in eighteenth-century Kent

Cragoe, Matthew (2017) The parish elite at play? Cricket, community and the ‘middling sort’ in eighteenth-century Kent. History, 102 (349). pp. 45-67. ISSN 0018-2648

Full content URL: http://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229x.12329

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The parish elite at play? Cricket, community and the ‘middling sort’ in eighteenth-century Kent
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Abstract

In the past twenty years a considerable amount of work has been undertaken on the ‘middling sort’ in eighteenth-century England. This amorphous social group, stretching between the labouring classes on the one hand and the lower reaches of the gentry on the other, has formed a key element in discussions of the social, economic and political history of urban England during this period. The new culture of association that characterised middling sort life in towns has been subject to particular scrutiny. Historians such Jonathan Barry have shown how the middling sort came to rely upon ‘a network of social and institutional relationships’ within their respective towns that took in business partnerships, charities and friendly societies, political clubs, learned societies, local government, and, of course, the churches. The values ‘embedded in associational life’, he argues, taught members how to negotiate the dialectic tension between ‘self control and obedience to others, between competition and cooperation, between restraint and liberality’: they provided a ‘prudential code for bourgeois life’. As such, the associational culture of the middling sort was central to how eighteenth-century towns operated, bolstering both civic and bourgeois identities.

Keywords:Cricket, History, Social class
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V140 Modern History
Divisions:College of Arts
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ID Code:25417
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 12:41

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