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Adams - Anglo-Saxon Feudalism

Adams - Anglo-Saxon Feudalism

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Published by David J Brooks
Anglo-Saxon Feudalism
Anglo-Saxon Feudalism

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Published by: David J Brooks on Mar 23, 2013
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Anglo-Saxon FeudalismAuthor(s): George Burton AdamsReviewed work(s):Source:
The American Historical Review,
Vol. 7, No. 1 (Oct., 1901), pp. 11-35Published by:
on behalf of the
Stable URL:
Accessed: 12/03/2013 19:58
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This content downloaded on Tue, 12 Mar 2013 19:58:08 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions
 
ANGLO-SAXONFEUDALISM
IN
nocountryfEuropedidthe feudal systemexert,eitheronpublicorprivateaw,amore profoundr morepermanentnfluencethann England.In regardtopubliclawit is enoughtoreferothefactthatthecontrollingprinciplewhichcreatedtheEnglishlimitedmonarchywasfoundinfeudallaw,orto this thattheor-ganizationf theEnglishjudicialsystemofthepresentdaybearsplainlythemarksof itsfeudalorigin.In thefieldf privateawitisdoubtfulf theresanycountry,ertainlynotanyentireountry,where theprinciplesffeudalismwereso thoroughlynd sologic-allyappliedto thelandlawasinEngland,anditisan interestingfactthatn someof the UnitedStatesafterlapseof sixhundredyearsconsiderabletroubleand expensemaybeoccasionedbystatutesfiamedn Englandat theendof thethirteenthenturyoprotectheinterestf thefeudalord,ifthewriterfa conveyanceis carelessin theformfwordswhichheuses.Sincethiss thecaseitsimportantoknow-hardlyanymerelyhistoricaluestionismoremportantn fact-whenandunderwhatcircumstanceshefeudal systementeredEnglishhistory.Wasitan indigenousproduct?Wasitntroducedullyormedta certaindatefrom broad?Are boththeseuppositionsnpartrue?WasthefeudalystemnprocessofformationnEnglandwhenthatnatu-ralgrowthwascutoffbythe graftingponitof amorecompletesystemwhichhadgrownupelsewhere,systemhatdifferedromthenativeEnglishonlyinbeingmoreperfectlyeveloped?ProfessorMaitland'sDomesdayBookandBeyondseemsto giveananswertothesequestionswhich stronglyupportsthetheorythatthefeudalsystemwasformingnEnglandbeforeheNormanConquest,or oneat least whichtendsto shakethe faithfthosewhohaveheld thatfeudalismwasfirstntroducedytheConqueror.Itwouldbeimproperoconsider Mr.Maitland'sbookanargumentforheexistenceffeudalismnSaxon England.ltis ratherfullstatementf thefactss hefinds hemn therecordswitlhomeex-planatoryommentandtheraisingof variousquestionisuggestedbythemwhichareforthemostpartleftwithoutdefinitenswer.Thebookis a finexampleofundogmaticscientificwork,muchlessdogmatichanmostmenwouldhave made it.Itdoes,low-
(
II)
This content downloaded on Tue, 12 Mar 2013 19:58:08 PMAll use subject toJSTOR Terms and Conditions
 
1
2
G. B.Adamns
ever,unquestionablyreate theimpressionhatinstitutionallyheConquestmadenoreallymportanthange,that itintroduced oimportantracticaldifferences,utthatatmost itbroughtnin-stitutionswhichwerenotdifferentnkindbutonlyso-mestagesfurtherlong inadevelopmentwhichhadbeenlongunderwayinEnglanditself.'TheargumentforAnglo-Saxonfeudalismwhichspresentedinthisimitedwayrestsupontheexistencebefore heConquest ofthreegroups ofnstitutionalactsdependentenures,rivateuris-dictions,ndmilitaryervicesanelementinlandtenure. Thespecialquestionhere sthis:ifwegrant heexistencefthesefactsinSaxonEnglandhaveweadmittedheexistencehereofthe feu-dalsystemproper,s itexistednEnglandat theend of theeleventhcentury,essfullydevelopednthe earlierimeperhaps,ut institu-tionallyhe samesystemHaveweadmitted hatthatdevelop-mentwasgoing ontherewhich,advancingmorerapidlyntheFrankishstate,hadproducedcompletedfeudalismwohundredyearsbeforeheConquest, andwhich fleft toitself wouldhaveproduced thesamesystem nEngland ?Have weadmittedhattheConquestintroducednothingwhichwasnewinprinciplebutmerelyprinciplesmoreogicallyworkedout ?Theanswerwegive to thisquestionwilldependlargelyonthemeaningweattachto theword"-feudalism."Thiswordsusedatpresent asmanywordsinits ownmedievalvocabularywereused,ina narrowndtechnical,ndat thesame timein abroader ndmoregeneralense.Wesometimesmeanbyit thespecialsystem
1
And thuswe seealready afeudalladderwith noless thanfiverungs."Domes-day BookandBeyond, p.
155.
"Feudalismwas notperfectedn aday. Stillhere[the fivehidesystem] we havethe rootofthematter .
. .
.
"
P.
159.
"Weare notdoubtingthattheConquerordefined theamount ofmilitaryervicethatwasto bedue tohimfronmach ofhistenants inchief,nor arewesuggestingthat hepaid respectto theruleabout thefive hides,but itseemsquestionablewhether heintro-dluced anyvery newprinciple. Anewtheoreticelementmay cometo thefront,con-tractualelement-the tenant inchief mustbringup hisknightsbecausethat is theser-vicethatwasstipulated forwhenhereceived hisland.But wecannotsay thateventhistheorywasunfamiliarto theEnglish."P.i6o."Whether aman whowilllose landfor sucha cause[failureofmilitaryervice]shall be said toholditbymilitaryerviceislittlebetter than aquestionabout themean-inigofwords. Atbest it isaquestion aboutlegallogic."P. 295."Dependenttenure ishereand, wemaysay, feudaltenure, and eventenurebyknight's service, forthoughtheEnglishcnihtofthe tenthcenturydiffersmuchfromtheknightof thetwelfth,till it is achangeinmilitaryactics rather thanachangeinlegal ideas thatisrequired toconverttheone intothe other."P.
309.
To theinteresting ndsuggestive introduction oEssayII,, pp.
220-226,
noexceptioncan be taken sinceit is madeentirelylearthatthe subjectisfeudalisminthewidenotinthe institutionalense.
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