A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of by Cynthia B. Herrup

By Cynthia B. Herrup

Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are parts that we predict to discover splashed throughout state-of-the-art tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal within which the 2d Earl of Castlehaven was once completed for crimes so terrible that "a Christian guy ought scarce to call them" threatened the very foundations of aristocratic hierarchy. In a home in Gross affliction, Cynthia Herrup provides a strikingly new interpretation either one of the case itself and of the sexual and social anxieties it forged into such daring aid. Castlehaven was once convicted of abetting the rape of his spouse and of committing sodomy together with his servants. greater than that, he stood accused of inverting the normal order of his loved ones by way of reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he used to be anticipated to rule and safeguard. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly condo used to be thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over by way of Castlehaven was once the main damning proof opposed to him. Castlehaven himself argued that he used to be the sufferer of an impatient son, an unsatisfied spouse, and courtiers grasping for his lands. Eschewing uncomplicated conclusions approximately guilt or innocence, Herrup focuses as an alternative at the attention-grabbing criminal, social and political dynamics of the case and its next retellings. In prose as riveting because the ethical and felony dramas it depicts, a home in Gross ailment reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, solid governance, and the function of legislation in regulating either.

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Extra resources for A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven

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19 The intimacy of servants with their masters’ families offered exceptional opportunities for both legitimate and illicit alliances, patronage, and frustrations. John Anktill, for example, was the younger son of “decayed” genteel stock from Dorsetshire. He came A Household Kept unto Itself 19 to Fonthill as Castlehaven’s page, progressed to managing some of the estates, and, in 1621, represented the family interest as a member of Parliament. Allegedly without the Earl’s consent, he married Castlehaven’s eldest daughter.

Five councilors were particularly assiduous in the inquiry: the Earls of Manchester and of Arundel and Surrey (the Lord Privy Seal and the Earl Marshal), Lords Coventry and Weston (the Lord Keeper and the Lord High Treasurer), and William Laud, Bishop of London. Laud was one of the King’s few confidantes; the other men occupied four of the most important offices of state. They were joined at the beginning and the conclusion of the investigation by Sir Nicholas Hyde, the Lord Chief Justice. Probably none of these men were strangers to either the Stanley or the Touchet families, and the prior connections that we can 40 A House in Gross Disorder document would not have reassured the Earl.

In the interim, most likely, councilors informally tried to reconcile Lord Audley and the Earl. If the heir’s central concern was his inheritance, he had every reason to prefer a settlement to a criminal prosecution. ”32 Were Castlehaven to be convicted of felony, that property would fall to the Crown. Because English laws of forfeiture did not apply in Ireland, Audley would retain his Irish estates and title were his father to be condemned, but that would be small recompense for what he would lose in England.

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