Historically, the financial trouble experienced by Edward and Leonora Ashburnham, was not an unusual situation for people of their social class in the beginning of the twentieth century. The rise of industrialism in England was combined with the fall of the landed gentry. As new, richer industrialists began to make a place for themselves in the highest ranks of society, the old landed families found it becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain their luxurious lifestyle. They could no longer depend on income from their land alone to meet their high cost of living. Edward and Leonora Ashburnham, like many of the people who were in their situation, clung to their history, their honor, and their respectability as things which could not be tainted by poor finances. Edward values his history and his gentility so much because, in the absence of money, they are the only supports which he feels will forever connect him to the idealized feudal system.