The Historical Journal

Articles

Fen Drainage, the Central Government, and Local Interest: Carleton and the Gentlemen of South Holland*

Mark E. Kennedya1

a1 University of Missouri-Columbia

In 1591 Julius Caesar, then judge of the High Court of Admiralty, initiated ‘ an important experiment…in the Admiralty court's continuing quest for greater respect and authority’. Despite high expectations on the part of Caesar, however, the experiment, a circuit of the west and southwest of England undertaken ‘in hopes of forcing the local authorities in those regions to submit to the supremacy’ of the Admiralty, was abortive. Caesar, beset by corrupt local officials and profiteering inhabitants, abandoned his circuit when only half completed and after obtaining results far less than he had anticipated. Caesar's failure, according to Lamar Hill, the historian of the ill-fated experiment, was not merely that of one Westminster bureaucrat unable to impose his authority in the provinces.

Footnotes

* I would like to thank Professor Clive Holmes, Ms Margaret Kassner and Professor Robert Ruigh for reading and commenting upon this paper.