Cynthia B. Herrup

in A House in Gross Disorder

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139259
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848966 | DOI:

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The sustained interest in historical trials partly draws upon their dramatic qualities, partly upon their relationship to history. This chapter reshapes the accepted narrative of what happened in the trials as well as the understanding of why it happened. The mainstays of the case as traditionally told have been homosexual acts, Catholic identity, and Castlehaven's guilt. Early modern men and women found the trial and its results more troubling than previous scholars have recognized. A rethinking of Castlehaven's story makes some of the temptations and vulnerabilities of servants in great establishments, and some of the constraints and freedoms of aristocratic women more visible. The prosecution of the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven was both sui generis and revealing of its broader context; atypical and yet suggestive about familiar legal difficulties.

Keywords: 2nd Earl of Castlehaven; trial; homosexual acts

Chapter.  3990 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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