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New comprehensive reference source of the governing class of Great Britain


Credit: De Gruyter Open

The British and Irish ruling class was a political, social, and economic elite. It constituted a hereditary landed aristocracy, constantly renewed and expanded by commercial and manufacturing wealth, that dominated government into the nineteenth century. Going strong and remaining potent well into the twentieth century, it helped shape the modern world beyond Britain.

New book by Ellis Wasson provides an account of the 2,352 families (close to 3,000 counting cadet lines) that had one member sit in either House of the English, British, or United Kingdom Parliament, the Irish Parliament, or the Scottish Parliament between 1660 and 1945 and was represented in one of these Parliaments by at least three members at any time between the Middle Ages and 2015. Nearly 20,000 individuals are included in the main listings.

The author dissects anything from social origins, ownership of country houses, wealth through honors, offices and links with associated families.

The book will serve as a comprehensive reference source of the governing class of Great Britain and Ireland from Oliver Cromwell to Winston Churchill, offering an unrivalled pool of data to support analysis of social, political, economic, and cultural history in the British Isles over the course of more than four centuries. Says Prof. Grayson Ditchfield, from the University of Kent :"The volume will become a major work of reference for historians and others interested in the British social and political elites from the seventeenth century to the end of the Second World War. The great merit of the book is its assembly in one convenient location of a very substantial body of data. The British Isles, as distinct from a purely English, approach is to be welcomed and is very much in line with the most recent historical research. The detailed explication of complex family relationships and property ownership is based on extremely thorough investigation and the three indexes, listing titles and family seats county by county, will make it easy to use."


"The British and Irish Ruling Class 1660-1945" by Ellis Wasson is available in open access to read, download and share on De Gruyter Online.

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