A Noble Way to Go: Deaths of English, Scots and Irish Peers 1100-1900

Author(s): Robert Dunning

ISBN: 9781781557136
Copies: 142
 A study of death among titled members of Britain’s upper classes in a fascinating variety of cause, place and circumstance.
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  • In wars, rebellions, politics, misfortune, overindulgence, disease and old age all took their toll, and some died in curious and suspicious places

  • Nobility combined with scandal and insanity

  • The author is an acclaimed and established historian and academic

Owners of estates and titles in the peerages of England, Scotland and Ireland were more, rather than less, likely than ordinary people to experience dramatic and gruesome deaths, and certainly more likely to have them recorded.

This study, drawing on the pages of The Complete Peerage, describes some 7,000 such deaths, revealing when, where and how they occurred and how they were commemorated.

In the Middle Ages, war, execution, imprisonment, plague, poison and sheer misfortune brought an end to many noble lives. In the sixteenth century, wars, executions and murders continued to take their toll alongside ‘affrays’ or ‘skirmishes’, so often blamed for deaths in Scotland and Ireland, and ill-health in amazing variety.

Wars at home, at sea and abroad were fatal for many in the seventeenth century. However, in the eighteenth century, death from too much food or drink was much more common.

Also, death was more likely to be encountered in fashionable mansions in London’s West End than in ancestral castles.

And in the nineteenth century, death came in remarkable places and sometimes in the most suspicious circumstances...

BOOK ISBN 9781781557136
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 144 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 32 colour illustrations



Robert Dunning is a graduate of the University of Bristol and was awarded a PhD in 1964 for a thesis of the medieval administration of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. He spent nearly 40 years as Editor of the Victoria History of Somerset, a county not known for its fondness for members of the peerage. Dunning has published a number of books and articles on local history and has lectured widely in England and the United States. He lives in Taunton in what is generally known as retirement.