Dr. Brock Holden

Postdoctoral researcher
2003-2004 (Irish Research Council for the Humanities and the Social Sciences)

  • Fellowship(s): 2003-2004 (Irish Research Council for the Humanities and the Social Sciences)
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Project: "The Practice of Lordship in Ireland and the March of Wales, 1170-1270"

Brock's project uses a broad geographical and chronological consideration of baronial families who held estates in both Ireland and the March of Wales during the century 1170-1270 to delineate, compare, and contrast the nature of Anglo-Norman aristocratic lordship in what were two frontier districts of Anglo-Norman power during a critical period. These lords did not think in the terms (national, county) in which they are often studied; one may think of their family ‘empires' as the ‘multi-nationals' of their day, and this project ignores the demarcations of ‘Irish' and ‘Welsh' history, returning the focus to the family enterprises themselves. The comparison will examine a range of aspects of lordship (seigniorial governance, castle building, tenant recruitment, economic development and exploitation, etc.), and will address several questions: How much was Anglo-Norman lordship in Ireland based on the experience of Wales? How and why did Anglo-Norman lordship in Ireland differ from that in Wales? How did magnates govern and administer cross-Irish Sea holdings? What factors bound these holdings in Ireland and Wales together, and what factors worked to separate them? What was the role of knights/gentry in the Anglo-Norman colonial enterprises in Ireland and Wales? Lastly, did the relative inability to apply in Ireland what could be labelled the ‘Marcher' model of lordship contribute to an increased borrowing (e.g. lineages) from Gaelic Ireland?