By Cynthia B. Herrup
Intercourse, privilege, corruption, and revenge--these are parts that we think to discover splashed throughout cutting-edge tabloid headlines. yet in seventeenth century England, a intercourse scandal within which the second Earl of Castlehaven was once done 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 ailment, Cynthia Herrup offers a strikingly new interpretation either one of the case itself and of the sexual and social anxieties it forged into such daring reduction. 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 typical order of his loved ones via reveling in instead of restraining the intemperate passions of these he used to be anticipated to rule and guard. Herrup argues that simply because an orderly condominium was once thought of either an instance and endorsement of aristocratic governance, the riotousness presided over by means of Castlehaven was once the main damning proof opposed to him. Castlehaven himself argued that he used to be the sufferer of an impatient son, an unsatisfied spouse, and courtiers grasping for his lands. Eschewing easy conclusions approximately guilt or innocence, Herrup focuses as an alternative 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 sickness reconsiders a scandal that also speaks to modern anxieties approximately intercourse, strong 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
Castlehaven, his son alleged, had also encouraged Skipwith and other servants to cuckold Audley. And the common fame of the household, he maintained, was that Skipwith was “overfamiliar” with the Countess of Castlehaven. Audley claimed to have confronted his father, only to ﬁnd his protests “slighted” and himself accused of disloyalty. As the younger man reported it, his father’s dismissiveness and an inconclusive personal confrontation between Skipwith and Audley at Fonthill Gifford forced him to ask the Council to intervene.
Skipwith admitted that there had been tension between Anktill and himself, complaining as well that his wife had been slighted by the Earl. Florence Fitzpatrick confessed to “a little malice” toward both the Earl and Skipwith. ”21 The tensions at Fonthill in the late 1620s were extraordinary; if one believes the later evidence, this was a house in which neither spouses, nor parents and children, nor servants and masters, nor servants among themselves saw eye to eye. Yet the strains behind such tensions were unexceptional.
Manchester and Coventry were allies of the Countess of Castlehaven’s mother, the Dowager Countess of Derby. Weston and Laud had witnessed the expulsion from court of Castlehaven’s sister, Lady Eleanor. Hyde had grown up almost in the shadow of Fonthill Gifford, in the same parish as Sir John Davies, Lady Eleanor’s estranged (and, by 1630, dead) husband. ”34 As suggested above, Lord Audley’s complaint was much more modest than the eventual outlines of the prosecution.