The English Crown embodied the unity of England. By the end of the fifteenth century, English kings enjoyed an enviable mastery of their kingdom. ‘Towards a Nation’ considers how this unity was achieved, the state of politics at the end of the medieval period, and the spreading sense of ‘Englishness’ of the kingdom. The king's administration was a co-operative affair involving local sheriffs, justices of the peace, the nobility, and the gentry. The Englishness of the Church of England became more pronounced in the later Middle Ages. The spread of literacy and the increased use of the English language were developments that symbolized a growing awareness of public affairs, reflecting feelings of patriotism and nationhood.