By Cynthia B. Herrup
Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are components that we think to discover splashed throughout state-of-the-art tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal within which the 2d Earl of Castlehaven used to be finished for crimes so terrible that "a Christian guy ought scarce to call them" threatened the very foundations of aristocratic hierarchy. In a home in Gross disease, Cynthia Herrup provides a strikingly new interpretation either one of the case itself and of the sexual and social anxieties it forged into such daring aid. Castlehaven was once convicted of abetting the rape of his spouse and of committing sodomy together with his servants. greater than that, he stood accused of inverting the traditional order of his loved ones by way of reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he used to be anticipated to rule and defend. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly residence was once thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over by way of Castlehaven used to be the main damning proof opposed to him. Castlehaven himself argued that he was once the sufferer of an impatient son, an unsatisfied spouse, and courtiers grasping for his lands. Eschewing uncomplicated conclusions approximately guilt or innocence, Herrup focuses as a substitute at the interesting criminal, social and political dynamics of the case and its next retellings. In prose as riveting because the ethical and felony dramas it depicts, a home in Gross illness reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, sturdy governance, and the function of legislation in regulating either.
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Extra info for A House in Gross Disorder: Sex, Law, and the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven
Affection might soften, but it did not preclude, intense disagreements over favoritism toward servants, the choice of marital partners, and the disposition of property. Because the children of the elite often lived away from home from an early age— boarding at school, with future in-laws or with other relatives— relationships between masters or mistresses and servants, albeit temporary, could be more continuous, more dependent, and more intimate than those between parents and their offspring. Castlehaven and his 2nd Countess, for example, had eleven children between them, but in the late 1620s only two, Lord Audley and Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Lady Chandos, lived at Fonthill Gifford.
However comfortable speciﬁc relationships were, they detracted little from belief in the “known” dangers of The Catholics or The Irish. Castlehaven and his ﬁrst wife ﬂirted with Catholicism at least brieﬂy after their move to Fonthill Gifford, but by the time of his second marriage, the Earl seems to have been at least outwardly conforming to the Church of England. 14 Like many aristocratic families, Castlehaven’s had an ambiguous and hence easily suspected confessional history. Castlehaven’s only brother was a Catholic; so were his children.
Castlehaven’s father had refused to sit in the Irish Parliament unless he was given precedence over all Irish Barons; Castlehaven, when just an English Baron’s son, had left Dublin rather than cede rank to the members of the Irish Privy Coun- A Household Kept unto Itself 15 cil. The Touchets (father and son) participated in coronations and investitures, but they seem to have had little interest either in the opportunities of the court and the capital or in the obligations of local governance and generosity.