The dissertation will investigate changes in the definition and conceptualization of old age in the period ca. 1590 - ca. 1700. It will focus on Greater London and its northern rural environs-the area under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London's Consistory Court. It will argue that old age was redefined in the period, and came to understood less as an opportunity to perform positive social functions and more as a time of retirement and dependency. Changes in attitudes to old age will be examined through the study of six specific topics: the measurement of age, the conceptualization and practice of retirement, the development of charitable institutions, the status of the old, the discourse of aging in travelers' narratives, and attitudes to marriage and sexuality in old age. The dissertation will be based primarily on manuscript court records, particularly the deposition books of the London Consistory Court and the records of the London livery companies. It will also draw on pamphlets and letters held in the British Library.