The de la Poles: the rise and rise of an East Anglian family
with Dr Rosemary Horrox (University of Cambridge)
at Sutton Hoo, Saturday, 7th Oct 2017

The de la Poles are often cited as ‘the’ classic example of social mobility in medieval England: Hull merchant to duke of Suffolk to brother-in-law of two kings. But their rise is accompanied by some dramatic falls and, ultimately, extinction, all in the space of about two centuries. This day-school narrates their story but also explores the political realities and social assumptions behind their trajectory.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:          Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:          Rise (c. 1320-1380)

11.15 – 11.40:          Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:          Fall and Recovery (1380-c. 1430)

12.40 – 14.00:          Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:          Rise and Levelling off (c. 1430-1485)

14.50 – 15.10:          Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:          Fall and Extinction (1485-c. 1525)

  1. 16.00: Thanks and Close


About Dr Rosemary Horrox

Rosemary Horrox MA PhD FRHistS is Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.  She is the author or editor of a range of works on medieval England, including Richard III: a study of service; The Black Death; Fifteenth-century Attitudes: perceptions of society in late medieval England.


When asked ‘What was best about the day?’ at a previous Study Day by Rosemary people said:

  • Rosemary Horrox’s humour plus depth of knowledge
  • The speaker – excellent speaker very knowledgeable and entertaining
  • Very informative with amusing asides
  • Really excellent speaker – she used no notes, no slides but riveting
  • Having a brilliant speaker without any distractions from slides etc
  • Being back listening to a university lecturer when one is very old.  A very interesting lecture by an excellent speaker
  • Dr Horrox’s relaxed manner
  • Ability to hold attention entirely through spoken (and written) word – no power-point – clarity in a complex subject


Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Information on all of the De La Poles can be found in the various entries to them in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Unfortunately Suffolk Libraries have just withdrawn it from their on-line facilities but there is a campaign underway to get it restored.

Peter Bloore & Edward Martin (eds), Wingfield College and its Patrons: Piety and Prestige in Medieval Suffolk  (Boydell & Brewer 2015)

Chris Given-Wilson, The English Nobility in the later Middle Ages: The Fourteenth-Century Political Community (Routledge & Kegan Paul 1987)

Rosemary Horrox, Fifteenth-Century Attitudes: Perceptions of Society in Late Medieval England (Cambridge University Press 1994)

Rosemary Horrox, & W.M.Ormrod (eds), A Social History of England, 1200-1500 (Cambridge University Press 2006)