Book Review – ‘The Channel Islands 1370–1640: Between England and Normandy’ by Tim Thornton
As Professor Thornton makes clear in his introduction, this is not a maritime history of the Channel Islands. It is essentially a study of the administrative and religious relationship of the Islands with the Crown of England and of their links with Normandy, which continued into the early modern period. There is only occasional reference to the Islands’ commercial and naval history, although the geographically strategic position is kept in mind throughout. The author starts with a brief but informative historiographical introduction, noting that English writing from the seventeenth-century mainly emphasized the Islanders’ unswerving loyalty to the Crown, while French writers of the same period frequently emphasized their Norman origins. Modern writers, on the other hand, have shifted emphasis to the relationship between England and its dependent territories, and to the local resistance to centralization. Most studies examine Wales and Ireland, so Thornton takes up this theme for the Channel Islands and in six chronological chapters sets out to examine ‘the fate of local and provincial distinctiveness in the late medieval and early modern periods’….