This controversial book offers a novel perspective on Tudor government and British state formation. It argues that traditional studies focusing on lowland England as 'the normal context of government' exaggerate the regime's successes by marginalizing the borderlands. Frontiers were normal in early-modern Europe, however, and central to the problem of state formation. England's peripheries were more extensive than the core and provide the real yardstick by whichthe effectiveness of government can be measured. Ellis demonstrates their importance by means of a detailed comparative study of two marches - Cumbria and Ireland - and their ruling magnates. He demonstrates the flaws in early Tudor policy, characterized by long periods of neglect, interspersed with sporadic attempts to adapt, at minimal cost, a centralized administrative system geared to lowland England for the government of outlying regions which had very different social structures. Ellis analyses the 1534 crisis in crown-magnate relations, reassesses the resulting policy of centralization and uniformity, and identifies the central role of these developments in establishing a British pattern of state formation.