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In Agatha Christie's "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", the following passage appears:

Ackroyd has always interested me by being a man more impossibly like a country squire than any country squire could really be. He reminds one of the red-faced sportsmen who always appeared early in the first act of an old-fashioned musical comedy, the setting being the village green. They usually sang a song about going up to London. Nowadays we have revues, and the country squire has died out of musical fashion.

Now, presumably for a contemporary reader at the time (the book was published in 1926) this would be a very illuminating description. However, as a reader from 90 years in the future, I'm completely at a loss. What was the role of a "country squire", what did they generally do, what were the intended stereotypes that one might be? What was the style of an "old-fashioned musical comedy" and are there examples with a country squire I could look up?

My websearches for "Country Squire" have mostly things named after the phrase, such as the motorcar from 1950 and plenty of hostelry.

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1 Answer 1

Is this answered by Wikipedia entries for squire:

later a leader in an English village or Lord of the Manor might be called a squire, and later key public figures such as justice of the peace or Member of Parliament.

and lord of the manor:

Lord Denning, in Corpus Christi College Oxford v Gloucestershire County Council [1983] QB 360, described the manor thus:

“In mediæval times the manor was the nucleus of English rural life. It was an administrative unit of an extensive area of land. The whole of it was owned originally by the lord of the manor. He lived in the big house called the manor house. Attached to it were many acres of grassland and woodlands called the park. These were the “demesne lands” which were for the personal use of the lord of the manor. Dotted all round were the enclosed homes and land occupied by the “tenants of the manor”.

By 1926 I imagine the title-holder would have few or no special powers, but people would have been familiar with the historical feudal origins.

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