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Old 01-06-2019, 04:55 AM
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Northampton, United Kingdom
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Plantagenet/Irish conjecture

For those who saw my "Royal couples' descendants" thread, I'm cracking a similar egg. Members of the Irish gentry from the post-1600s having crystal-clear 'Wars of the Roses' ancestry isn't uncommon, but going by research I did yesterday you have to go a fair few generations before English and Irish blood starts mixing. I was just thinking out loud one day "sometimes baronets and such have their younger children fall down the social ladder", and I came up with the following flow chart in my head:
Plantagenet & Tudor nobility --> English baronets & gentry --> Landowners that moved --> Irish of the educated ("middle") class --> Irish labourers.

How much time/many generations do think it might take for the nobility to drop to gentry, gentry to landowners, and so forth? It's all conjecture of course, but there's bound to be the odd potato labourer that was actually of blue blood but wouldn't be listed in Burke's (founded ironically by an Irish genealogist)!

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Old 01-06-2019, 05:50 AM
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Location: Malmö, Sweden
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While not in Ireland, but in Sweden I have ancestors that went from the lower nobility, our equivalent to the gentry, to the then working class in three generations. Once things begin to go down hill they can do so quite fast. Worth mentioning is that my ancestors lived in a time and place where Sweden and Denmark often fought over territory and where, as a result of the conquering Swedes policies, many from the old Danish families found themselves displaced from their properties causing an upheaval of the old social order and leading to several instances where descendants of once great families died in uttermost poverty. I imagine that this is an experience shared by many from the Irish and Old Irish nobility and gentry.

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Old 01-06-2019, 06:42 AM
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Off the top of my head I can think of 2 prominent marriages.

Anne Boleyns paternal Irish grandmother Lady Margaret Butler was from one of the great noble Anglo-Irish House -The Earls of Ormond.

Earlier back,Elizabeth de Burgh daughter of the Earl of Ulster married Robert the Bruce and later became queen of Scots.
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:33 AM
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I think you'd be surprised how short a time it often took to go from noble to "potato-farmer." As JR76 says: less than three generations.

It all depends on the time period and circumstances.
If the monarchy is abolished by a revolution, the major deroute starts already during the first generation.
A lot of nobles who fled the Russian Revolution got away with very few means, and they were soon used. So nobles ended up as cab-drivers in Paris, or prostitutes in Shanghai. Especially as most of them were basically unskilled.
Something similar must have happened to many of in particular the lower noble families after the French Revolution. They were soon reduced to "exiled potato farmers", who in many cases ended up joining Napoleon, but far from all were restored to anything near their former status.

Okay, there are two basic reasons why a noble family goes down the drain: Political or economical.
Political: The worst case scenario for a noble family was that they were stripped of titles, possessions and land. That often meant they were reduced to destitution within weeks, if they weren't supported by friends and allies, which most of them after all were. But if they were blacklisted permanently, the generosity of friends and allies were likely to run out within a few years. So "arrangements" would be dictated to them. In that case the route from noble to "potato farmer" would in my estimation take at most some 300 years.
Economic: A much faster deroute. In more modern times, within the past 2-300 years, a very fast deroute!

In medieval times (before 1500) the end would often be much more "soft."

Okay, what would happen to a noble family, consisting of mother, father, some unmarried siblings and children, if they lost their manor?
Certainly prior to 1500, the most common way out would be the cloth or the sword. Such a disgraced lord (certainly his oldest son) would often take up the sword, in the vain hope perhaps of winning glory and perhaps restore the status of his family.
His wife and unmarried sisters were likely to enter a cloister.
Sons and daughters would if possible be married off and would be assimilated into another noble family. Those who could not be married off traditionally had two options: Join a cloister or a monastery or become a soldier.In such medieval cases the deroute would take only one generation.

In some cases a family was "sponsored" by other nobles if there was a hope of restoring their status, should the political winds shift. (There was much less chance of the economic circumstances changing for the better.)
Temporary! Because as time went, the sons and daughters would face the prospect of less advantageous marriages. I.e. being "persuaded" to marry "beneath their status." That meant they would take over a minor manor somewhere, become a steward or a bailiff somewhere on their "sponsor's" estates. Certainly their younger children would often face even more disadvantageous marriage prospects. So those who didn't take the sword or the cloth would marry and take over a respectable farm somewhere. And their younger sons and daughters would often face even fewer marriage prospects and eventually end up as potato farmers. All that within 300 years, at most.
After 300 years it would be a family legend that "we were once lords of the manor."
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