1st Edition

Augustan England Professions, State and Society, 1680-1730

By Geoffrey Holmes Copyright 1982
    346 Pages
    by Routledge

    First published in 1982, Augustan England provides ample substance to reinforce the thesis that the years from 1680 to 1730 mark the most decisive stage in the rise of the English professional classes before the 19th century, and that this had profound consequences in maintaining the relative ‘openness’ of 18th century society until the advent of industrialization.

    This book provides the first ever authoritative study of the professions, as a whole, before the Victorian age. The spectacular growth and prosperity of the professional sector of English society at a time when population growth was minimal is seen by Professor Holmes as a mirror of the transformation of England herself in these same years. The Augustan age was one of high English achievement in many fields, from the flowering of literary genius to the acquisition of a sophisticated financial system and the attainment of Great Power status through two consuming wars. It witnessed a ‘commercial revolution’ and important aesthetic, cultural and scientific advances, many of them centered on the growth of London and on a rejuvenation of provincial urban life. From all these developments the professions derived stimuli; on all of them they left their distinctive stamp. In this study, therefore, they are presented not merely as institutions but as an integral part of the very texture of Augustan England. This is a must read for students and scholars of British history.

    Preface Acknowledgements Part I: The Augustan Professions and English Society 1. Introduction 2. Nascent Professions and the ‘Liberal Arts and Sciences’ 3. Schools and the Schoolmaster Part II: ‘The Great Professions’: The Church, The Law and Medicine 4. The Church 5. The Lawyers and Society in Augustan England 6. The Coming of ‘the Doctor’ 7. Society and the Medical Profession, 1680- 1730 Part III: The New Professions: The Service of the State 8. The State and the Professions: The New Men of Government 9. The Armed Services of the Crown Appendix Bibliographical Notes Index


    Geoffrey Holmes at the time of the original publication of the book was Professor of History, University of Lancaster. 

    Review of the Original Publication:

     “Let us be clear at the outset what this book is not. It is not an account of England in the Augustan period. Quite specifically, it is a social and institutional history of the professions during the half-century when, according to the author, they were transformed in character and numbers. With this caveat, Augustan England is an extremely useful addition to the historiography of the period, sharpening our awareness of the development of an important occupational segment of the population, and deepening our understanding of English society on the eve of the industrial revolution.”

    -          Ian Gentles, Vol. 17 No. 34 (1984), Histoire Sociale-Social History