In the late Middle Ages social mobility was not generally seen as a good thing, and could be regarded as dangerous to the social order. There had always been social mobility, as the economy expanded continuously, but much of it was in the church, which was more acceptable. In the 15th century the heavy losses from the Wars of the Roses at the top of society, followed in the 16th by much more rapid economic growth and the English Reformation, after which fewer clergy worked in administrative roles, and which liberated in the Dissolution of the Monasteries vast quantities of assets for the agile nobility and gentry to acquire, all worked to greatly increase upwards mobility at the top of society.

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