Masham of Otes: The Rise and Fall of an English Family

Peter Laslett charts the descent of a near forgotten family of English nobles.

The word Otes appears on our Ordnance Survey maps in the archaic lettering reserved for ruins and for ancient monuments. It is about 25 miles to the N.E. of London somewhere in the midst of that seemingly aimless tangle of by-roads and tracks which form the communications of the county of Essex. The nearest church is at High Laver, a crooked mile or so away to the East and the nearest hamlet at Matching in the opposite direction, but for a proper village and a real road it is necessary to go five or six miles farther, to Harlow. Otes in fact is out of the way, more isolated now than perhaps ever before in its history.

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