Posted by Laura W on May 03, 1998 at 22:12:06:
In response to Country Squires, written by Erin L on May 01, 1998 at 17:14:11
] Can anyone explain the role of a "squire" in the late 18th- early 19th centuries? My family history states that my gggg-grandfather served as a Justice of the Peace in Pennsylvania beginning in 1809,and was always referred to as "Squire Horner." What is the difference between this and the "country squire" that we read about in English literature?
I don't think there was any difference, but I can't find a source to back me up. My understanding, though, is that the local magistrate was called the Squire if he didn't hold a peerage. (I think he would still have been called Squire if he held a knighthood or baronetcy.) He was basically the highest-ranking person in the neighborhood, socially speaking.
In Persuasion, the squire's house is the only large house near Uppercross:
Uppercross was a moderate-sized village, which a few years back had been completely in the old English style, containing only two houses superior in appearance to those of the yeomen and labourers; the mansion of the squire,
with its high walls, great gates, and old trees, substantial and unmodernized, and the compact, tight parsonage, enclosed in its own neat garden, with a vine and a pear-tree trained round its casements; but upon the marriage of the young 'squire, it had received the improvement of a farm-house elevated into a cottage, for his residence, and Uppercross Cottage, with its veranda, French windows, and other prettiness, was quite as likely to catch the traveller's eye as the more consistent and considerable aspect and premises of the Great House, about a quarter of a mile farther on.
Also, at the very beginning of Northanger Abbey:
There was not one lord in the neighbourhood; no -- not even a baronet.
There was not one family among their acquaintance who had reared and supported a boy accidentally found at their
door -- not one young man whose origin was unknown.
Her father had no ward, and the squire of the parish no children.
But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her.
Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.
- Thanks, Laura; You are... Erin L 09:28:52 5/04/98 (1)
- thanks for the warm fuzzy!! nfm Laura W 01:13:52 5/06/98 (0)
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