The Charities of London, 1480 - 1660 The aspirations and the achievements of the urban society
In this work Professor Jordan continues his study of the origins of modern social and cultural institutions in England. He is concerned with the momentous shift which occurred in men's aspirations for their society in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as reflected in the charities which were established by gifts and bequests.
This volume deals with the immense contribution made by London to this process of historical change, a change so swift as to be revolutionary in its institutional implications. The author describes the vast charitable system which London created, examines at length the aspirations and the social philosophy of the merchant aristocracy which controlled its affairs, and seeks to assess the social dominance exerted by London in this era as the flood of its charitable generosity poured out across the face of the realm. It is Professor Jordan's estimate that more than a third of the whole of the great charitable endowments created in England during this period were London's gift, while almost a third of London's benefactions were made for the benefit of communities in other parts of the realm. It is not too much to say that London's almost prodigal generosity was fashioning for all of England the institutions of a new age.
Here is recorded the annal of a proud achievement by a city which discovered its own greatness in the period under discussion. It is perhaps not too much to say that few authors have quite so fully mastered the rich and variegated life and aspirations of the city as has Professor Jordan, certainly none have recounted the triumph of its achievement with greater understanding and pride.
This book was first published in 1960.